DRYDEN, JOHN (1631-1700, poet, playwright, critic and translator)
James Tassie's vermillion and glass medallions are thought to be uncommon and should not be confused with the portraits in plaster which are more readily available.
Tassie, a Scotsman, settled at first in Ireland where he went into partnership with Henry Quin, who was imitating antique cameos, and together they invented a powdered glass substance which had the appearance of porcelain. In 1766 Tassie moved to London and became Wedgwood's main competitor for relief portraits, but it was a friendly rivalry and Tassie later supplied sulphur moulds for seals and cameos for use at Etruria.
This portrait of Dryden is listed in and therefore predates Rudolph Eric Raspe's Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient and Modern Gems, 1791.