Some of the Marlborough Gems from the Aug 21, 1875 issue of "The Pictorial World"
The 1st century Apollo sardonyx cameo, one of the Marlborough Gems, today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Aurora Driving a Chariot, a 1st century BC Roman sardonyx cameo, one of the Marlborough Gems, today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Built / Designed For: Captain William Corbet Smith
House & Family History: In the late 19th century Bitteswell Hall was purchased by the wealthy colliery magnate David Bromilow, who spent lavishly on the House.
Collections: The collection of Marlborough Gems, including the famous 1st century BC cameo of the "Marriage of Cupid and Psyche" (also called "The Nuptials of Eros and Psyche," "Scene of Religious Initiation," "The Marlborough Gem," and "The Marlborough Cameo;" see "Images" section) is today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Marlborough gem collection was formed by the 4th Duke of Marlborough in the second half of the 18th century; its status was greatly enhanced by the fact that it included the important collection of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, formed during the reign of Charles I. Before it came into the ownership of the Earl of Arundel, "The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche" cameo had been one of the prized possessions of the artist Peter Paul Rubens, who gave it to Lord Arundel. Josiah Wedgwood reproduced "The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche" frequently in Jasperware, thus raising the cameo to new heights of fame. In 1875 the 7th Duke sold "The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche," together with the other Marlborough gems, to David Bromilow of Bitteswell for the enormous sum of £35,000, approximately £17 million in inflation-adjusted 2017 values, using the labour value commodity index. Bromilow's daughter subsequently sold the collection at a Christie's auction June 26-29, 1899 in London. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston purchased twenty-one of the Marlborough gems at the 1899 auction (including "The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche"); they remain today in its collection.
House Listed: Demolished
Park Listed: Not Listed
Current Ownership Type: Demolished
Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished
House Open to Public: No
Historic Houses Member: No