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To support what soon became a continental craze, Napoleon established a school in Paris and staffed it with the abducted Sicilians who trained young Frenchmen in the glyptic art.
With the discovery of new varieties of shells in the 18th century, most notably conch in the Bahamas and West Indies and carnelian off the West African coast, shell cameos grew in popularity as their abundance made them less expensive than semiprecious stones.Jacket length greatly increased during the 1870s, such that the skirt beneath almost disappeared.Many were form fitting and many were boxy, with masculine cuts. This jacket was roughly knee length, cut in long gores without waistline seams.A canny image-maker, Napoleon saw how they might serve as emblems of France’s new republic, linking it to Roman grandeur.He’d discovered the art form while a young general on a campaign in Italy, and when he returned a triumphant war hero to Paris, he brought a large collection with him, along with many of the most gifted cameo makers, whom he had captured when he conquered Sicily.
Thanks to this gifted designer’s vision, what was old is very new again.