IL GRAND TOUR
IL GRAND TOUR
IL GRAND TOUR TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART
pau l h o l b e rt o n p u b l i s h i n g
Catalogue written by Emanuela Tarizzo with Elliot Davies and Christopher Maxwell Photographs by Doug Currie Produced by Paul Holberton publishing Printed by Pureprint UK Copyright ÂŠ 2014 Tomasso Brothers Fine Art
to m a s s o b rot h e r s f i n e a rt Bardon Hall, Weetwood Lane, Leeds, ls16 8hj Tel. +44 (0) 113 275 5545 12 Duke Street, St Jamesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, London, sw1y 6bn Tel. +44 (0) 20 7839 9394 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tomassobrothers.co.uk
f o r e wo r d
a n c i e n t i d e a l s of architecture and decoration have had various renaissances but none more beautifully represented than the Neoclassical period in Britain. This last has been very influential in forming Raffaelloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and my own taste. A love of the objects which were brought back from Italy, during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to decorate the interiors of both grandiose and more modest abodes, has always been very strong in us both. The present catalogue has been carefully chosen with objects which are synonymous with the British Grand Tour. We have represented as many different techniques, materials and tastes as we could within the catalogue by exhibiting mosaics (both micro-mosaics and those with larger-scale tesserae), bronzes, porcelains, terracottas and various coloured marbles. With the exception of porcelain, all these materials were used throughout antiquity, which leads one to wonder how colourful and intricate the greatest of ancient interiors must have looked. It was to this aesthetic that the Grand Tourists aspired. All at Tomasso Brothers Fine Art hope that you enjoy this exhibition and we would like to thank the people without whom this exhibition would not have been possible: Emanuela Tarizzo, Elliot Davies, Doug Currie, Christopher Maxwell, Paul Holberton and Laura Parker. dino tomasso
IL GRAND TOUR
v i e n na p o r c e la i n fac t o ry, 1790 A pair of porcelain red-figure kraters, after the Antique
f r a n c e s c o r i g h et t i (1749–1819) Ariadne & Bacchus Amour & Psyché du Comte Foy
g i ac o m o r a f fa e l l i (1753–1836) A circular micromosaic representing an athénienne, a krater and a casket, on a copper panel, with a rolled gold frame, 1787
b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) An exceptional giallo antico marble tazza, set on a Belgian black marble base
f r a n c e s c o r i g h et t i ( 1749– 1819) Callipygian Venus
a n d r e a p o z z i (1718–1769) Flora Farnese Ercole Farnese
r o m a n, early 19th century The Obelisco Lateranense and the Obelisco Solare
b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) A patinated bronze oil lamp set on a green porphyry base
b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) A pair of giallo antico marble tazze set on verde antico marble pedestals and Belgian black marble bases
1 0 . r o m a n, c. 1800 Apollo Belvedere 1 1 . t h e s t o w e r o s s o a n t i c o o b e l i s c o d e l la m i n e rva Roman, c. 1800 1 2 . s a m u e l a lc o c k & c o., c. 1830, & v i e n na p o r c e la i n fac t o ry, 1790 A suite of eight porcelain vases, after the Antique 1 3 . g i ac o m o zo f f o l i (1726–1785) Flora Farnese 14 . r o m a n, late 18th/early 19th century The Temple of Castor and Pollux and the Temple of Vespasian 1 5 . g i o va n n i bat t i s ta p o z z i (c. 1670–1752) A collection of 18th-century intaglios of the Twelve Caesars 1 6 . i ta l i a n, 18th century Satyr with young Bacchus
1 7. g i ac o m o r a f fa e l l i (1753–1836), attributed to A mosaic panel of the Temple of the Sibyl, Tivoli, after Jacob Philipp Hackert 1 8 . b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) A giallo antico marble tazza on a Belgian black marble base 1 9. r o m a n , 18th century Silenus with the infant Bacchus 2 0 . f e l i c e c a r o n n i (1747–1815) A rare scagliola plaque engraved with trompe l’oeil compositions 2 1 . c a r lo a l bac i n i (1739–after 1807), workshop of Bacchus with a panther 2 2 . i ta l i a n, early 19th century A pair of bronze kraters, after the Antique 2 3 . i ta l i a n, early 19th century A pair of models of the Temples of Segesta and of Hera (Agrigento), Sicily 2 4 . a n t o n i o ag uat t i (active from 1805, died 1846) A micromosaic panel representing a Faun, with a wreath of grapes and vine leaves around his head and a leopard skin across his shoulder 2 5 . r o m a n , c. 1800 The Capitoline Lions 2 6 . a n t o n i o ag uat t i (active from 1805, died 1846), attributed to, c. 1820 A pair of micromosaic panels representing the Coliseum, Rome, and the waterfalls at Tivoli 2 7. i ta l i a n, 18th century Thalia 2 8 . fa b b r i c h e g i u s t i n i a n i , early 19th century A terracotta wine cooler, decorated with red figures and foliage, after the Antique 2 9. r o m a n , c. 1800 The tomb of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus 3 0 . n i c o la m o r e l l i (1771–1838) A cameo representing Cupid riding a lion whist playing the lyre 3 1 . i ta l i a n, 18th century Venus de’ Medici 3 2 . s i r j o h n s oa n e, r . a . (1753–1837), circle of, late 18th century An English statuary marble chimneypiece
v i e n na p o r c e la i n fac t o ry, 1790 A pair of porcelain red-figure kraters, after the Antique Each 27.4 cm high
t h e s e t wo f i n e va s e s were produced at the Vienna porcelain factory in 1790, and the style of their decoration perfectly reflects the prevailing European fashion for the goût grec, or Greek taste. The vases are inspired by ancient Greek prototypes (then considered Etruscan), of the kind that had become widely collected by Grand Tourists in the second half of the 18th century. After the rediscovery of Pompeii in 1748, the antiquities dealers of Naples enjoyed a lively trade in such artefacts (see also cat. no. 28), which found a ready home in the cultural centres of Enlightenment Europe. Arguably the most famous collector of Greek vases was Sir William Hamilton (1731–1803), the British Ambassador to Naples from 1764 to 1800. Many of his greatest pieces are now in the British Museum. His vast collection was published in four illustrated volumes by 1776 (Pierre d’Hancarville, Antiquités étrusques, grecques, et romaines, tirées du cabinet de M. Hamilton) and was widely known across the Continent. It was from this source that the artists in Vienna drew inspiration for these vases. Porcelain was arguably the greatest technical achievement of 18th-century Europe, and it was the ideal medium through which to express fashionable taste in a domestic setting. The period of 1780–1815 is generally considered to be the Golden Age of Vienna porcelain. The factory was then under the inspired directorship of Conrad Sörgel von Sorgenthal (1735–1805), who sought to develop sophisticated new shades of enamel colours to apply to striking Neoclassical forms. Having achieved the technical ability to render convincing evocations of antique ceramics, the artists borrowed motifs from archaeological prototypes and applied them to different forms, tailoring their products to the tastes of their wealthy customers. The vase on the left is decorated with Polydeukes abducting Helera from a larger scene depicting The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus found on the ‘Meidias Hydria’ now in the British Museum (inv. 1772,0320.30; d’Hancarville, vol. I, pl. 130). The vase on the right shows Nike leading a Bull, and was taken from an illustration of a vase now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (inv. 1050; d’Hancarville, vol. III, pl. 36).
f r a n c e s c o r i g h et t i (1749–1819) Ariadne & Bacchus Amour & Psyché du Comte Foy Bronze with rich brown patina 35 cm high, the former 33 cm high, the latter Signed and dated F.Righetti.F.Romae.1790
r e n o w n e d for his fine bronze statuettes after the Antique, Francesco Righetti was highly sought after amongst Grand Tourists in late 18th-century Rome. English banker Henry Hope (1753–1811) commissioned twelve lead replicas of antique and Renaissance statues, and Frederick Hervey (1730–1803), 4th Earl of Bristol, had two candlesticks cast by the artist. Catherine the Great (1729–1796), too, commissioned a marble and bronze model of Mount Parnassus, and in 1805 Pope Pius VII (1742–1823) appointed Righetti director of the Vatican foundry. This elegant pair of bronzes are versions of antique sculptures of Ariadne and Bacchus and Cupid and Psyche. They are signed and dated 1790 by Righetti, and the subjects are listed as Ariadne & Bacchus and Amour & Psyché du Comte Foy in the 1794 catalogue of the works offered by his workshop. Bacchus, god of wine and revelry, was said to have chanced upon Ariadne one day whilst accompanied by his train of riotous followers, just after she had been abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos. The antique composition that inspired the present Bacchus and Ariadne group is a Roman 1st–2nd century AD marble that was acquired for the Smith Barry collection of Marbury Hall, Cheshire, in Rome in the 1770s and is now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts as Dionysos and Maenad (inv. 68.770). The second pair depicts Cupid and Psyche. This group derives from a marble excavated by Conte Giuseppe Fede (d. 1777) – also known as the Comte Foy – at Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli in the early 18th century. Now lost, the work is known from a beautiful early drawing by Pompeo Batoni (1708–1787), preserved at Eton College. Initially Fede’s sculpture was known as either Biblis and Caunus or Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, owing to the fact that the male figure was restored as turning away from his companion. Later, these titles were dropped in favour of Cupid and Psyche because of the group’s resemblance to the embracing Cupid and Psyche given by Pope Benedict XIV to the Capitoline Museum, Rome, in 1749 (inv. MC0408). r e lat e d l i t e r at u r e F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 189–91, under no. 26
g i ac o m o r a f fa e l l i (1753–1836) A circular micromosaic representing an athénienne, a krater and a casket, on a copper panel, with a rolled gold frame, 1787 7.2 cm diameter Signed and dated on the reverse Giacomo Raffaelli Fece Roma 1787
c o n s i d e r e d b y s c h o la r s as the first great master of micromosaic, Giacomo Raffaelli held the earliest known exhibition of such works in his Roman studio in 1775. He was appointed Principal of the Scuola del Mosaico in Milan in 1804 and began working for the Napoleonic Court in the same year. Napoleon Bonaparte is known to have presented two clocks by Raffaelli as gifts. We also know that Pope Pius IX (1792–1878) offered to Princess Eugenie (1826–1920) a pietra dura table by Raffaelli, now preserved in the Hôtel Matignon, further testimony that the master’s craftsmanship was revered amongst the highest social circles of his age. The micromosaic technique was developed in Rome at the end of the 18th century by craftsmen working in the mosaic workshop of the Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro, originally established with the intent of decorating the chapels of St Peter’s and producing copies of the Vatican’s masterpieces. Consisting of minute enamel tesserae, micromosaic panels became extremely popular in the 18th and 19th centuries both as ornaments for jewellery and small decorative objects and as independent artefacts. This exquisite and refined composition is centred around an athénienne, a type of tripod that came extremely fashionable following the discovery of Pompeii and Paestum in the mid-18th century. Indeed, an object of such shape unearthed amongst the ruins of the Temple of Isis in Pompeii (now Museo Nazionale, Naples) inspired designs published in influential texts such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s 1778 Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi, tripodi, lucerne, ed ornamenti antichi and Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine’s Recueil de décorations intérieures of 1801. Notably, the present athénienne appears to be an original invenzione of Raffaelli, of which two later copies are known today (Gilbert Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Rome, private collection; see J. Hanisee Gabriel, The Gilbert Collection Micromosaics, London, 2000, p. 174). In the 18th and 19th centuries, athéniennes were generally used as lamp stands, incense burners or jardinières and were highly popular in the Grand Tour market. It is no coincidence, therefore, that Raffaelli combined one here with two other objects traditionally associated with Grand Tour taste – a krater, its shape directly derived from Greco-Roman vessels and its colour alluding to ancient marmor numidicum, and a casket, also an artefact with antique precedents, which would have been used at the time to house jewels or other precious small objects.
b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) An exceptional giallo antico marble tazza, set on a Belgian black marble base 45 cm high; 60 cm wide; 49 cm deep Signed b. boschetti / roma (lower left)
“t h i s e s ta b l i s h m e n t i s – particularly – conspicuous for its great variety of marble works, bronzes, candelabras, table-tops, etc. besides a rich collection of the best mosaics and shell engravings.” Thus Francesco Saverio Bonfigli described Benedetto Boschetti’s workshop in his Guide to the Studios in Rome, a handbook aimed at assisting travellers make their way through the city’s cobbled streets, one artist’s bottega after the other. Situated at the heart of the Eternal City, at 74 via Condotti, Boschetti’s atelier was famous among contemporaries for the exceptional quality of its works after the Antique, highly sought after by the ever growing number of foreigners visiting Rome as part of their Grand Tour. Objects like the present tazza would have responded exactly to the demands of such an audience. Giallo antico marble had been a favourite material of the ancient Romans, who quarried it in present-day Tunisia and called it marmor numidicum. Beautifully finished, this vase also echoes the shape of ancient Roman labra, basins used for cold or hot water in the baths, or vessels such as the celebrated Warwick Vase (Burrell Collection, Glasgow, inv. 42.20). Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, these models were filtered through the vocabulary of Giovan Battista Piranesi’s influential collection of designs for decorative objects entitled Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi, tripodi, lucerne, ed ornamenti antichi, first published in Rome in 1778. Here, the tazza’s main body, carved inside with a rosette motif, is flanked on two sides by foliate handles and encircled by an egg-and-dart border. It rests on a fluted socle. A closely comparable Roman labrum in pavonazzetto marble was unearthed during the pontificate of Pius VI (1775–99) and exhibited in the Vatican Museums, where it remains to this day (inv. 1144).
f r a n c e s c o r i g h et t i ( 1749– 1819) Callipygian Venus Bronze with a rich brown patina 35 cm high Signed and dated F. RIGHETTI.F.ROMAE.1787
t h e p r e s e n t b r o n z e is a small version of a 1st-century BC Roman marble statue, probably modelled after a lost Greek bronze original, discovered in Rome before 1594, the year it was first illustrated and published by Giovanni Battista Cavalieri in his Antiquarum Statuarum Urbis Romae tertius et quartus liber (pl. 66). Around that date it was acquired by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese (1573–1626) and placed in the family’s Roman palazzo, first possibly in the Camerino Secreto and, by 1697, in the Sala dei Filosofi, surrounded by eighteen busts of ancient philosophers. In 1767 it was transferred to the Villa Farnesina, but in 1786 King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon (1751–1825) ordered its removal to Naples, where it resides to this day in the Museo Nazionale, the former Museo Borbonico (inv. 6020). Notably, shortly after the Venus had been unearthed, an anonymous master had restored its head and left arm, but before the work was moved to Naples King Ferdinand commissioned the Roman sculptor Carlo Albacini (see no. 21) to carry out new conservation work. The statue arrived in Naples in February 1792. A bronze statuette closely related to the present one, signed and dated 1788 by Righetti, is now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, which also houses what is considered to be the earliest known model in bronze of the the Callipygian Venus (acquired from Hans Calmann, London). Notable versions were commissioned by Louis XIV (now Musée du Louvre, Paris, and Château de Versailles) and by Gustavus III of Sweden for the Royal Palace in Stockholm. From the early 18th century the Venus was known as La Bergère grecque or La Belle Victorieuse, in connection with an account by the 3rd-century AD author Athenaeus popularized by Vincenzo Cartari’s 1556 Imagini con la sposizione degli dei antichi. Athenaeus narrated that the cult of Venus Callipygos had originated in Syracuse after two sisters had each found a husband by asking two young men to settle which one of them possessed the loveliest buttocks. r e lat e d l i t e r at u r e F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 316–18, no. 83; N. Penny, Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum: 1540 to the present day, Oxford, 1992, vol. I, no. 79; vol. II, no. 351
a n d r e a p o z z i (1718–1769) Flora Farnese Ercole Farnese Ivory 14 cm high; 9 cm wide Both signed Andrea Pozzi (lower centre) p r o v e na n c e Alvaro Gonzales-Palacios collection, Paris l i t e r at u r e L. Pirzio Biroli Stefanelli, ‘La fortuna dell’Ercole Farnese nel XVIII e XIX secolo. Avori, cammei, gemme, cere, medaglie’, in P. Moreno (ed.), Lisippo. L’arte e la fortuna, Rome, 1995, p. 494, no. 10.16
t h e s o n o f t h e e s ta b l i s h e d s c u l p t o r Giovanni Battista Pozzi (see cat. no. 15), Andrea learnt the art of fine ivory carving in his father’s Roman workshop, which specialized in compositions after the Antique for the Grand Tour market. Highly successful in his own right, Andrea is believed to have also worked in Naples, before ultimately moving to Madrid, where King Carlos III (1716–1788) named him director of the ivory atelier of the Real Fábrica del Buen Retiro in 1764. Examples of the artist’s mastery can be seen today in the Museo del Prado, Madrid, which houses two splendid ivory reliefs depicting The Flagellation and The Crowning with Thorns (inv. nos. E278 and E283); in the Casita del Principe at the Escorial, which features a room dedicated to ivory plaques, including one with the Furietti Centaurs and another with Achilles and Chiron by Pozzi; and in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, to which belongs a highly finished and signed ivory medallion of a man (inv. 71.371). The present reliefs represent two figures with which Pozzi would have been very familiar from the days of his apprenticeship in Rome – the Flora Farnese and the Ercole Farnese. As their names indicate, both statues once belonged to the prominent Farnese family and were displayed together in the courtyard of their palace in Rome. There, they were admired and celebrated as two of the most extraordinary antiquities known to mankind (for an account, see F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, nos. 41 and 46). They were subsequently inherited by the Bourbon rulers of the Kingdom of Naples and are now in the city’s Museo Nazionale (Flora inv. 6409; Hercules inv. 6001).
r o m a n , early 19th century The Obelisco Lateranense and the Obelisco Solare Rosso antico marble 77 cm high
c a rv e d w i t h e xt r ao r d i na ry at t e n t i o n t o d eta i l , the present models reproduce two of the most important ancient obelisks in Rome – the Obelisco Lateranense and the Obelisco Solare. The former takes its name from the Lateran Basilica, in front of which it was erected by Pope Sixtus V (1521–1590) in 1588. A monolith of red granite, it was originally commissioned by the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III (reign 1479–1425 BC) and located in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt. After a journey on the Nile and a period in Alexandria, the obelisk was eventually taken to Rome, where Emperor Constantius II (AD 317–361) had it installed in the Circus Maximus. It was rediscovered there centuries later and restored by the architect Domenico Fontana (1543–1607). The inscription on its present base, reproduced in this model, dates to 1588 and commemorates the baptism of Emperor Constantine (AD 272–337). The Obelisco Solare, also made of red granite, dates to the 6th century BC, and its construction has been attributed to Pharaoh Psammetichus II (ruled 595–589 BC), who is mentioned in the hieroglyphs. Shipped from Heliopolis to Rome on the Emperor Augustus’s orders in 10 BC, it was intended to function as the gnomon of a gigantic sundial, the Solarium Augusti in the Campus Martius. Pope Sixtus V first commissioned the obelisk’s restoration, which was completed only almost two centuries later by Pope Pius VI in 1792. The inscription on its base celebrates Augustus’s conquest of Egypt.
b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) A patinated bronze oil lamp set on a green porphyry base 43 cm high; 40 cm wide Signed b. boschetti / roma (lower left)
p r a i s e d b y c o n t e m p o r a r i e s for his ability to reproduce faithfully the work of classical masters, Benedetto Boschetti also delighted in the creation of invenzioni inspired by the Antique, such as the present bronze oil lamp. An eclectic ensemble of Egyptian and later motifs, it consists of a main body surmounted by a removable cover and cast with an elaborate handle. The handle takes the shape of a fantastical winged figure, possibly intended as a griffin, whilst a recumbent lioness sits on the lamp’s lid, decorated with a foliate pattern, and a winged female figure wearing Egyptian headdress adorns the spout. Further Egyptian winged masks are cast to each side of the lamp, which is supported by a stem featuring acanthus leaves and scarabs at its base. An oil lamp of identical design in giallo antico marble, also signed by Boschetti, is preserved in the Museo Mario Praz, Rome, where the collection of this famous Italian critic and connoisseur is housed.
b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) A pair of giallo antico marble tazze set on verde antico marble pedestals and Belgian black marble bases 32 cm high; 30.5 cm wide
t h e i r m a i n b o d i e s carved with a lobed pattern on the outside, the present tazze are enriched by classical masks and rest on elegant verde antico pedestals, which contrast and accentuate the warm tones and beautiful veining of the giallo antico bowls and fluted socles. This exquisite pair of tazze are amongst the most elegant and finely carved objects produced by Boschetti for the Grand Tourists visiting the Eternal City. The masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision to carve masks representing Bacchus and Fauns on the tazze is a reference to ancient wine vessels, intended to appeal to the antiquarian taste of his audience.
r o m a n, c. 1800 Apollo Belvedere Bronze with a rich brown patina 31 cm high
t h e p r e s e n t b r o n z e is a model of the Apollo Belvedere, a 2nd-century AD Roman marble generally considered to be one of the high points of ancient sculpture and one of the most influential prototypes for generations of artists across Europe and beyond. The sculpture was unearthed in Rome, or nearby Anzio, at the end of the 15th century. Documentary evidence suggests it soon entered the possession of Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere (1443–1513), following him to the Vatican after his election as Pope Julius II in 1503. In a payment order dated 1511 the Apollo is recorded in the Belvedere courtyard, where it has remained ever since, with the exception of a Parisian sojourn ( July 1798–January 1816) courtesy of Napoleon Bonaparte. Already in 1523, Venetian ambassadors to the papal court described the Apollo Belvedere as “famoso nel mondo” (famous throughout the world). The earliest known version of it is a small bronze statuette cast by Antico (c. 1455–1528) at the turn of the century (now Galleria Franchetti alla Ca d’Oro, Venice). Thereafter, many interpretations of the Apollo in different media were executed. Notable examples dating to the age of the Grand Tour can be found at Syon House, Kedleston Hall and the Sir John Soane Museum (formerly at Chiswick House). r e lat e d l i t e r at u r e F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 148–51, no. 8
t h e s t o w e r o s s o a n t i c o o b e l i s c o d e l la m i n e rva Roman, c. 1800 Rosso antico marble 73.5 cm high Inscribed .SAPIENTIS. AEGYPTI INSCVLPTAS. OBELISCO FIGVRAS AB ELEPHANTO PELLVARVM. FORTISSIMA GESTARI. QVISQVIS HIC VIDES DOCVMENTVM INTELLIGE ROBVSTAE. MENTIS. ESSE SOLIDAM. SAPIENTIAM. SVSTINERE and on the other side VETEREM. OBELISCVM PALLADIS AEGYPTIÆ. MONVMENTVM E TELLVRE. ERVTVM ET IN MINERVAE. OLIM NVNC DEIPARAE. GENITRICIS FORO. ERECTVM DIVINAE. SAPIENTIAE ALEXANDER VII DEDICAVIT ANNO SAL. MDCLXVII p r o v e na n c e Baroness Kinloss and the Trustees of the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos; their sale, Stowe, near Buckingham: the Ducal Estate and Contents of the Mansion, Jackson Stops, London, 4 July 1921, 13th day of sale, Music Room contents, lot 2536
t h e o r i g i na l m o nu m e n t was erected in 1667 in the Piazza della Minerva, Rome, a stone’s throw from the famed Pantheon. It consists of an ancient obelisk, unearthed amongst the ruins of the Iseum Campense temple in 1665, mounted on a base carved in the shape of an elephant, as designed by the great master Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680). The project was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII Chigi (1599–1667), whose emblem (six mounts surmounted by a star) and coat of arms adorn respectively the elephant’s saddle and the monument’s base. Bernini’s design was inspired by an illustration depicting an elephant supporting an obelisk inscribed with hieroglyphs published in the 1499 Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, one of the earliest books to have been printed in Venice by the Aldine press. A remarkable text, it recounts the adventures of young Poliphilo as he pursues his lover Polia in a dream, against a backdrop of forests, gardens and classical ruins inhabited by dragons, nymphs, Cupid and other extraordinary creatures. Whilst celebrated in Roman vernacular tradition for the rather irreverent positioning of its back right in front of the Dominican friars of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the obelisk would certainly have been a favourite amongst Grand Tourists for its unique appearance and its authorship, as testified by the notable provenance of the present model. The inscription on the obelisk reads: ‘Whoever you may be who see here the sculpted signs of wise Egypt being borne by an elephant, strongest of beasts, understand that it is a strong mind that sustains solid wisdom’; that on the reverse commemorates the obelisk’s excavation, re-erection and dedication to divine wisdom by Alexander VII.
s a m u e l a lc o c k & c o. , c. 1830, & v i e n na p o r c e la i n fac t o ry, 1790 A suite of eight porcelain vases, after the Antique Dimensions varying from 28 cm to 22 cm high
t h i s e l e g a n t g r o u p o f va s e s reflects the enduring appeal of the archaeo logical artefacts first enjoyed by the 18th-century Grand Tourists. It consists of vases and ewers made at different factories, using various types of ceramic. The earliest is a porcelain vase made at Vienna in 1790, during the most successful and creative period of this prestigious factory’s history (see cat. no. 1). It is joined by seven further pieces, probably from the 1830s, made at the thriving Staffordshire factory of Samuel Alcock & Co. They feature both painted and printed decoration on a bone-china body. Most notable is an interpretation of the famous Portland Vase (now at the British Museum, inv. GR 1945.9-27.1), which had been in the collection of Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples between 1764 and 1800. This Roman cameo-cut glass vase became one of the most celebrated antiquities of the 18th century. It was first reproduced by Josiah Wedgwood (1730–1795) around 1790, in his distinctive ‘black basalt’ ware (now Victoria and Albert Museum, inv. Circ.732–1956). Thereafter it became a staple model for ceramics manufacturers, and is here rendered in the style of a Greek ceramic vase. The subjects of the larger pair of vases are identified on their bases as The Marriage of Bacchus and Ariadne on the Island of Naxos and The Infant Bacchus Delivered into the Hands of Mercury. The decoration on the smaller pair depicts Bacchus and his Followers and can be linked to a vase in the published volumes of the collection of Graf Anton Franz Lamberg-Sprinzenstein (1740–1822), who had served as Austrian Ambassador to Naples (see Alexandre de Laborde, Collection des vases grecs de M. le comte de Lamberg, Paris, 1813, pl. 15). As a whole, this group documents the evolution of the late 18th-century goût grec from a defining style of the wealthy elite into one of a repertoire of historicist options offered to a wider market. The artistic tastes of the Grand Tour were made available to those who might never have been able to visit the archaeological sites or antiquities dealers of Naples and elsewhere. However, the particular association of Greek vases with the tastes of the Enlightenment Grand Tourists endured. They remained keenly sought after by collectors into recent times (the media magnate William Randolph Hearst amassed a particularly fine collection), their allusions to classical literature and history traditionally making them suitable for display in libraries and studies.
g i ac o m o zo f f o l i (1726–1785) Flora Farnese Bronze with a rich brown patina 34 cm high Monogrammed G · Z · F (lower left)
g i ac o m o zo f f o l i led one of the most prominent bronze foundries in Rome, specializing in models after the Antique for the Grand Tour market. This elegant and charming statuette represents the Flora Farnese, a 1st-century AD Roman marble that captured the imagination of artists and prestigious collectors from the 16th century to the Neoclassical period and beyond (see also cat. no. 6). Discovered in the first half of the 16th century – as attested by the drawings of it executed by Marten van Heemskerk whilst in Rome between 1532 and 1536 – the Flora is recorded by Ulisse Aldrovandi in the courtyard of the Palazzo Farnese, Rome, in 1556 (Delle statue antiche, che per tutta Roma, in diversi luoghi e case si veggono, Venice, 1562, p. 146). It remained there until 1787, when it was removed to the workshop of the sculptor Carlo Albacini, before being sent to Naples in 1800. It is now in the Museo Nazionale in Naples (inv. 6409). The prominence and appeal of the Flora Farnese in the era of the Grand Tour is testified by the large number of existing versions of it in a variety of media. The present example most likely derives from a clay impression sculpted for the Zoffoli workshop by Vincenzo Pacetti (1746–1820) in 1773, upon which another bronze small-scale Flora Farnese, also signed by Zoffoli, now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, is based. Both pre-date the restoration of the Farnese marble by Filippo Tagliolini (1745–1809), who substituted the floral chaplet with a nosegay. Reduced models of the Flora were certainly popular also owing to the original’s colossal size (3.42 m high). A rare full-scale copy was made for the Imperial palace at Tsarkoe Selo, Russia, whilst a more traditional marble life-size one was commissioned from John Michael Rysbrack (1694–1770) for the Pantheon at Stourhead, Wiltshire. A lead version of similar scale to this last by John Cheere (1709–1787), dated 1760, adorns the south front of Kedleston Hall. The porcelain Flora Farnese produced in England by the Bow factory (active c. 1747–64) is considered by scholars to be based on Rysbrack’s terracotta study for Stourhead (now Victoria and Albert Museum, inv. A.9–1961). r e lat e d l i t e r at u r e F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 217–19, no. 41; N. Penny, Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum: 1540 to the present day, Oxford, 1992, vol. I, no. 112
r o m a n , late 18th/early 19th century The Temple of Castor and Pollux and the Temple of Vespasian Giallo antico marble on Bardiglio marble bases 57 cm high and 56 cm high
lo c at e d i n t h e f o ru m , the Temples of Castor and Pollux and of Vespasian constituted key landmarks in every visitor’s Grand Tour of ancient Rome. The former, dedicated to the twin sons of Jupiter and Leda, also known as the Dioscuri, was first erected to commemorate the Roman Republic’s victory over Lucius Tarquinius Superbus at the Battle of Lake Regillus in 496 BC. The present remains, however, date to the early 1st century AD, when Tiberius (42 BC–AD 37), Augustus’s stepson and future emperor, had the monument rebuilt following a fire. The Temple of Vespasian was completed in approximately AD 87 and dedicated to the Emperors Vespasian (AD 9–79) and Titus (AD 39–81) by the latter’s brother Domitian (AD 51–96). Both temples present fluted marble columns and capitals of the Corinthian order supported by high podiums. In the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the entablature consists of a three-step architrave, decorated with an acanthus motif, a plain frieze, and a cornice with modillions framing deeply recessed rosettes. The Temple of Vespasian’s surviving fragments reveal a more richly carved entablature, featuring representations of bucrania, helmets, knives, axes, plates and jugs, references to the emperor’s role as Pontifex Maximus. Illustrated by the architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) in his influential 1570 Four Books of Architecture (vol. IV, pl. 48 and p. 14 respectively), both temples became a major source of inspiration for the architects of Georgian England. Notable examples include the frieze in the entrance of William Chambers’s Somerset House, the capitals of Lord Burlington’s Chiswick House and the columns of Robert Adam’s Grand Marble Hall at Kedleston.
g i o va n n i bat t i s ta p o z z i (c. 1670–1752) A collection of 18th-century intaglios of the Twelve Caesars Ivory, encased in their original mid-18th century Roman carved and gilt wood frame 44 cm high; 37 cm wide
s m a l l i vo ry r e l i e f s after the Antique were amongst the most sought-after souvenirs of the Grand Tour. Precious and easily transportable, such keepsakes were collected in order to be exhibited – upon returning home from the Continent – as symbols of their owner’s taste, worldliness and knowledge. Following his tour of Italy and France in 1739–41 the young Horace Walpole (1717–1797) commissioned a wall cabinet, now on display at the Victoria and Albert museum (inv. W.52–1925), to house his collection of enamels and miniatures. To complement these works Walpole decided to decorate each door of the cabinet with ivories representing the great masters and masterpieces of the past, from antiquity through to the 17th century. Amongst these, the miniatures of classical sculptures and Roman emperors have been attributed to Giovanni Battista Pozzi, to whose hand the present ivories can also be ascribed. Pozzi was born in Bergamo, Northern Italy, c. 1670, and is first documented in Rome in 1697, where he died in 1752. Signed works by the artist include the ivory and bronze versions of a medal portraying the Prussian antiquarian, occasional thief and spy for the British monarchy in Rome Philipp von Stosch (1691–1757), an ivory profile head of Stosch’s friend Dr Conyers Middleton (1683–1750), Cambridge University’s first Chief Librarian, and a wax medal of a young man called John Gordon. The Caesars represented here are Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian.
i ta l i a n , 18th century Satyr with young Bacchus Bronze 29 cm high
t h i s m o d e l is a small bronze version of the ancient marble Satyr with young Bacchus formerly in the Farnese collection and now in the Museo Nazionale in Naples (inv. 6022). In the 16th century the statue formed part of the collection of antiquities of the Cesarini, a prominent Roman aristocratic family, who – in a fashion not uncommon at the time – traced their lineage to no less than Julius Caesar (M. de Montaigne, Journal de Voyage en Italie, Paris, 1580–81, pp. 275–76). In 1593 Cardinal Odoardo Farnese acquired the Satyr with young Bacchus from Duke Giuliano IV Cesarini, along with the rest of the collection. The theme of Bacchus’s childhood, spent on the hills of Mount Nysa in the company of satyrs and maenads, had enjoyed significant popularity since antiquity, as testified above all by the Hermes and the Infant Dionysus group attributed to Praxiteles (4th century BC, now Archaeological Museum, Olympia, Greece). The present bronze depicts a satyr playing cymbals whilst the infant Bacchus sits on his shoulders holding a bunch of grapes. This lively scene captures a seminal event in the life of the young god, for this is the moment when he was first introduced to the fruits of the vine. In the ancient world, many different cultures throughout Europe and Asia Minor established cults of Bacchus, centred on festivals such as the Athenian Dionysia and Lenaia, in which musical instruments like the cymbals and panpipe represented here played a key role.
g i ac o m o r a f fa e l l i (1753–1836), attributed to A mosaic panel of the Temple of the Sibyl, Tivoli, after Jacob Philipp Hackert 54 cm high; 60 cm wide
a favo u r i t e s u b j e c t of landscape painters since the 16th century, the Temple of the Sibyl sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking the falls of the river Aniene, next to the small town of Tivoli. Founded in the 1st century BC, the temple was transformed into a church, Santa Maria Rotonda, during the Middle Ages, but returned to its original appearance at the end of the 19th century. Built in the Corinthian order, it consists of a circular colonnade, supported by a high podium, that encloses a round chamber. The frieze is decorated with garlands and bucrania. The present mosaic faithfully reproduces an oil on canvas by the German artist Jacob Philipp Hackert (1737–1807), recently acquired by the Dresden Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe records in his 1811 biographical sketch of Philipp Hackert, the painter would set out for walks around the Roman Campagna carrying a large drawing board, on which he outlined ideas and impressions that he would subsequently turn into finished works, such as the Dresden picture, in the studio. In this rare panel Giacomo Raffaelli, one of the foremost mosaicists of his age, beautifully captures the bright palette and warm light of Hackert’s composition, closely rendering its every detail. A mosaic panel with the same subject, signed by Raffaelli, in the prestigious Gilbert collection, is now on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. GILBERT.171:1, 2-2008).
b e n e d et t o b o s c h et t i (active from c. 1820) A giallo antico marble tazza on a Belgian black marble base 37 cm high; 23.5 cm square
h i g h ly f i n i s h e d a n d e la b o r at e ly d e s i g n e d , the present tazza is carved out of beautifully veined giallo antico marble, which adds to its surfaceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fine decorative quality. The inside of the square basin features rosette motifs and a fluted pattern. Its lobed outside is ornate with an egg-and-dart border and four handles. The fluted socle rests on its original Belgian black marble base. Like cat. nos. 4 and 9 in this catalogue, this tazza by Benedetto Boschetti would have appealed to travellers on their Grand Tour for its refined ornamental quality and connection with antique labra and vessels.
r o m a n , 18th century Silenus with the infant Bacchus Bronze with dark brown/green patina 34 cm high
ac c o r d i n g t o g r e e k m y t h o lo g y Mercury had entrusted Silenus, a satyr and demi-god, with raising the infant Bacchus, son of Jupiter and Semele. The present bronze is a reduction of a Roman Imperial marble statue, now in the Musée du Louvre (inv. MR346), that is considered by scholars to be a copy of a 4th-century BC bronze by the Greek master Lysippus. The Louvre marble was unearthed, before September 1569, on the site of the Gardens of Sallust and was subsequently acquired by Cardinal Scipione Borghese before 1613. In 1807 it was purchased by Napoleon Bonaparte from his brother-in-law Camillo Borghese (1775–1832) and transferred to the Louvre shortly afterwards. Admired both for its anatomical mastery and for the endearing nature of its subject, the Silenus was widely reproduced from a very early stage. In the 1570s, Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici (1549–1609) commissioned a bronze cast of it, now in the Uffizi. A plaster version was made for Philip IV of Spain (1605–1665) in 1650, and in the late 17th century models in both marble and bronze were executed for Versailles. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, small bronze replicas such as the present one were in high demand amongst Grand Tourists and could be acquired in Roman workshops such as those of Francesco Righetti and Giacomo and Giovanni Zoffoli (see cat. nos. 2, 5, 13). In England, larger bronze versions of Silenus with the infant Bacchus can be seen today at Syon House, Petworth House and Woburn Abbey. r e lat e d l i t e r at u r e F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, p. 307, no. 77
f e l i c e c a r o n n i (1747–1815) A rare scagliola plaque engraved with trompe l’oeil compositions 37.5 cm high; 53 cm wide Signed and dated P Felix Caronni Barnabita f. 1782
a m a n o f r e m a r k a b l e a n d e c l e c t i c ta l e n t , Felice Caronni was born in Monza, Northern Italy, in 1747. Having joined the order of the Barnabite priests in his home town in 1768, he soon began to travel throughout the Italian peninsula and beyond, pursuing both his religious vocation and his passion for studying and collecting antiquities. Upon his arrival in Rome in 1771, he was introduced to Giovanni Battista Visconti (1722–1784), Prefetto delle Antichità di Roma and director of the project for the Museo Pio Clementino, the Vatican’s collection of classical antiquities. This encounter no doubt fostered the young Caronni’s keen interest in antique artefacts, as attested by his many letters to Visconti, preserved in the Vatican Library (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Lat. 10396). Rich in descriptions that range from architectural remains to ancient coins, these testify to Caronni’s heterogeneous knowledge and endless curiosity, two qualities clearly evident in the present work. A technical tour de force, this trompe l’oeil composition almost reads like a small compendium for the 18th-century connoisseur. Starting from top left, an engraving by the Dutch master Dirk Stoop is followed by an Imperial Roman coin, a segment of the frieze of the Temple of the Sun in Palmyra and the sketch of a lady inspired by Francesco Bartolozzi’s prints after Guercino. Just below this, a circular representation of a palatial loggia in the style of Giovanni Paolo Panini edges on an engraving of a peasant drinking by David Teniers the Younger and a profile head by Jan Lievens. This in turn is followed on the left by another veduta, this time of a countryside villa, which lies above the musical score of a minuet. The composition is closed, in the lower right corner, by the artist’s signature and dedication to Count Crivelli. Contemporary sources describe Caronni as an expert engraver. Significantly, he is credited with introducing engraving into the curricula of both the Accademia delle Arti of Mantua and the prestigious Accademia di Brera in Milan. His artistic production, however, remains to this day virtually unexplored, which makes the present plaque an object of remarkable historical and artistic importance.
c a r lo a l bac i n i (1739–after 1807), workshop of Bacchus with a panther White marble 109 cm high
a r a r e r e p r e s e n tat i o n of Bacchus playing with a panther, the present statue was inspired by the 2nd-century AD Carrara marble group of the same subject preserved in the Borghese Collection, Rome (inv. 143). The god of wine is portrayed here with two of his main attributes, the panther and a bunch of grapes, which combine to create a dynamic and playful narrative. Standing in elegant contrapposto – his head crowned with vine leaves and his arms enfolded in a cascading mantle – Bacchus teases the animal, who lifts its paw in an attempt to reach the grapes. This subtle psychological aspect is a characteristic of the Roman original, which the sculptor of our group had the ability to capture and transfer to his own work. The quality of the present model indicates that it was carved in a Roman workshop in the middle of the 18th century. Amongst the finest and most important of them was that of Carlo Albacini. A pupil of Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, Albacini specialized in copies after the Antique of the highest refinement, destined for the wealthiest and most sophisticated Grand Tour travellers, but also in restoring antiquities, such as those in the prestigious Farnese collection, and creating works of art of a decorative nature. The Roman original has been identified with one of the two “Bacchi” mentioned in the inventory of the collection of Giovan Battista della Porta, which was acquired by Cardinal Scipione Borghese c. 1610. Scholars believe that at the end of the 17th century the statue was located, with its pendant (a representation of Bacchus raising a wine cup), in one of the niches decorating a wall of the gardens of the Palazzo Borghese, Rome. During the following century, both sculptures were moved to the entrance of the Stanza del Gladiatore in Villa Borghese, as recorded in a watercolour by Charles Percier (Paris, Institut de France, Ms 1008, Rome 1786–91, fol. 74).
i ta l i a n, early 19th century A pair of bronze kraters, after the Antique Verdigris patinated bronze, set on verde antico marble plinths 37 cm high
t h e p r e s e n t va s e s are inspired by the celebrated Townley Vase (British Museum, London, inv. 1805,0703.218), a 2nd-century AD Roman marble urn that was unearthed at Monte Cagnolo, near Rome, around 1773. Unlike the Vase, these bronzes are not carved with Bacchic scenes, but the grape and vine leaves motif that runs along their necks, handles and lower sections is a clear echo of their prototype’s decoration. The British Museum’s vase takes its name from Charles Townley (1737–1805), the famous collector, who had acquired it from Gavin Hamilton (1723–1798) in 1774. Described by Hamilton as “like nothing you have ever seen & first rate sculptour”, upon its arrival to England the vase immediately gained considerable fame, which prompted the production of various replicas. It is interesting to note that the Townley Vase is in turn modelled on ancient Greek volute-kraters traditionally cast in bronze, an example of which is also preserved in the British Museum (inv. 1865,0103.43).
i ta l i a n , early 19th century A pair of models of the Temples of Segesta and of Hera (Agrigento), Sicily Terracotta 21 cm wide; 9.5 cm deep p r o v e na n c e Sent by Colonel Brown, 1830, according to a period label underneath each base
i n t h e wo r d s o f j o h a n n wo l f g a n g vo n g o et h e , “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything” (Italian Journey: 1786–1788, trans. W.H. Auden and E. Mayer, London, 1962, p. 240). Albeit not a traditional destination during the age of the Grand Tour, Sicily enchanted those travellers who dared steer away from the given path with its millennial history and extraordinarily rich heritage. Grand vestiges of the region’s ancient past, the Temple of Segesta, rising imposingly over verdant hills west of Trapani, and the exceptional Valley of the Temples outside Agrigento were amongst the most visited sights on the island. Founded by the Elymians, legendary descendants of Aeneas, in the 5th century BC, the Temple of Segesta consists of a hall measuring 21 by 56 metres, enclosed by Doric columns and supported by a platform three steps high. Abandoned by the end of the 4th century AD, the monument has survived in a remarkable state of conservation, as illustrated in the present model. Also built in the Doric order, the Temple of Hera (or Juno) Lacinia stands on the eastern end of what was once the sacred hill of the ancient Greek colony of Akragas, modern-day Agrigento. Dating from around 430 BC, it was damaged by a fire towards the end of the 5th century BC, restored in Roman times, and again damaged during the centuries that followed. During the Grand Tour era only one wall was restored, the remaining columns theatrically lying in ruins. Paired in what could be read as a parable of the rise and fall of the ancient world, these models would have been produced in Italy in response to the widespread taste for the goût grec. The old labels on their bases suggest they were sent from Italy to England by a Colonel Brown in 1830, perhaps keepsakes from a young soldier to his loved one.
a n t o n i o ag uat t i (active from 1805, died 1846) A micromosaic panel representing a Faun, with a wreath of grapes and vine leaves around his head and a leopard skin across his shoulder 31.5 cm high; 27 cm wide (unframed) In a 19th-century Empire frame
a n t o n i o ag uat t i , whose workshop was located on Piazza di Spagna, was appointed Professor at the Studio Vaticano del Mosaico in 1834. Along with Giacomo Raffaelli, he is considered one of the leading 19th-century masters in the micromosaic technique, especially for his contribution to the development of tesserae of diverse formats and elaborate shading. The present work beautifully exemplifies these characteristics, as demonstrated by the overall use of richly coloured tesserae of different shapes and sizes, including for small details such as each single grape or the leopard skin’s spots. The heightened sense of realism and painterly modelling of the figure are also representative of Aguatti. A micromosaic entitled “Testa di Sileno” by Aguatti is recorded in Rome by Giuseppe Antonio Guattani in his 1805 Memorie Enciclopediche Romane sulle Belle Arti (vol. IV, p. 157). Comparable works by the master include a panel representing Beatrice Cenci, after Guido Reni, in Chatsworth House, and a reproduction of Caravaggio’s Vatican Entombment, on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. GILBERT.184:1 to 3-2008). In 1828, Aguatti’s most renowned pupil, Michelangelo Barberi (1787–1867), executed a micromosaic table-top of identical iconography to the present one (private collection). Subjects connected with the figure of Bacchus were traditionally very soughtafter by collectors, as they combined a playful narrative with classical erudition. Prized for their complex technique and fine quality, micromosaics such as this would have been hung in the same fashion as paintings, in reference to the notion of the artistic paragone (or competition between the arts).
r o m a n , c. 1800 The Capitoline Lions White marble, set on granito antico marble bases 17.5 cm high; 9.5 cm wide; 32.5 cm long
u p o n a p p r oac h i n g t h e s t e p s leading up to the Capitoline Hill, visitors on their Grand Tour would have been met by two black basalt recumbent lions that were part of the fountains located at each end of the stairway. Originally placed in the ancient Roman Temple of Isis and Serapis, or Iseum Campense, in the Campus Martius, the lions were then incorporated into the site of the church of Santo Stefano del Cacco (erected on the ruins of the temple), where they remained until 1562, when Pope Pius IV (1499–1565) donated them to the people of Rome, and they were moved to the Capitol. Imposing and elegantly modelled, the lions would certainly have caught the eye of passers-by and foreign travellers such as the influential collector and designer Thomas Hope (1769–1831), who decorated a settee for the famous Egyptian Room at his home on Duchess Street, London, with four lions of identical form (see T. Hope, Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807, pl. VIII).
a n t o n i o ag uat t i (active from 1805, died 1846), attributed to, c. 1820 A pair of micromosaic panels representing the Coliseum, Rome, and the waterfalls at Tivoli 6.5 cm diameter Each mounted in an English Regency ebonized and gilt-bronze frame
t h e f i r s t pa n e l portrays the Coliseum, the largest extant amphitheatre of the Roman world. It was begun under Emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and completed ten years later under his son and heir Titus. In this instance, the artist chose a view taken from the east, where the so-called Meta Sudans stood until 1936. Built at the end of the Flavian period (AD 69–96), the Meta was a conical fountain that signalled the point where triumphal processions would turn on their way to the Roman Forum. One of the most illustrious vestiges of ancient Rome, the Coliseum was a popular subject in micromosaics of the Grand Tour age, appearing on its own, as part of more elaborate cycles depicting the marvels of Rome, or in vedute of the city. This variety is beautifully exemplified by the Gilbert Collection mosaics, amongst which is a rather extraordinary view of the Coliseum measuring no less than 175 cm across (see J. Hanisee Gabriel, The Gilbert Collection Micromosaics, London, 2000, no. 58). Arguably the Coliseum’s counterpart in the Roman Campagna – the verdant hills that were a favourite of Grand Tourists seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of the Eternal City – Tivoli also appears in 18th- and 19th-century micromosaics (see also cat. no. 17). The charm of this small town lay in its unique combination of magnificent ancient ruins, such as the Temple of the Sibyl and Emperor Hadrian’s Villa, and spectacular views over a series of natural waterfalls, as illustrated in the second of the two present panels. Tivoli, therefore, offered travellers the chance to appreciate all the joys of the Italian Grand Tour at once – antique grandeur and awe-inspiring nature. Executed with the finely coloured, minute tesserae characteristic of Antonio Aguatti, these micromosaics constitute beautiful examples of the technical mastery achieved in this medium by the early 19th century. Note the infinite gradations of brown used to render the bricks of the Coliseum or the earthen path in front of it, the painterly representation of the game of light and shadow amid the monument’s arches, and the hues of white, grey and blue chosen to depict the rumbling waters at Tivoli, contrasting to the vivid green of the vegetation around it.
i ta l i a n, 18th century Thalia White marble 68.5 cm high p r o v e na n c e Reputedly from the estate of Lord Palmerston, Brocket Hall, Welwyn, Hertfordshire
I sat in the Muses’ Hall at the mid of the day, And it seemed to grow still, and the people to pass away, And the chiselled shapes to combine in a haze of sun, Till beside a Carrara column there gleamed forth One. Thomas Hardy, ‘The Vatican: Sala delle Muse’, 1887 t h e p r e s e n t bu s t is a fine and deeply carved version of the full-length seated Thalia located in the Museo Pio Clementino’s Sala delle Muse (inv. 295), where she is joined by the statues of her sisters, positioned around the famed Belvedere Torso. This group of sculptures was purportedly discovered on the site of the Villa di Cassio at Tivoli in excavations begun before 1773 by Domenico de’ Angelis. It was acquired for the papal museum by Giovanni Battista Visconti in 1775. When the Sala delle Muse was opened to the public, its treasures immediately captured the imagination of visitors and artists alike, the Thalia especially for her graceful countenance, elaborate headdress and elegant robes, as illustrated in a drawing by Pietro Angeletti, c. 1781–82, formerly in the collection of Charles Townley (see also cat. no. 22) and now in British Museum (inv. 2010,5006.1766). In ancient Greek mythology Thalia was one of the nine Muses – the goddesses who presided over men’s intellectual and creative endeavours – and was particularly associated with comedy and idyllic poetry. Her name derives from the ancient Greek verb thállein, meaning ‘to flourish, to bloom’. The ivy wreath around her head, as represented here, is one of her traditional attributes, referring both to her poetic merit and to the connection between the theatre and the god Bacchus. r e lat e d l i t e r at u r e W. Amelung and G. Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, III, i, Berlin, 1935–56, no. 503; C. Petrangeli, Scavi e scoperte di antichità sotto il pontificato di Pio VI, Rome, 1958, pp. 139–40
fa b b r i c h e g i u s t i n i a n i , early 19th century A terracotta wine cooler, decorated with red figures and foliage, after the Antique 16.5 cm high; 24.5 cm wide Monogrammed and numbered G 6
e s ta b l i s h e d i n t h e s m a l l t o w n of Cerreto Sannita at the beginning of the 18th century by Antonio Giustiniani (1689–1764), heir to a family of tile and pot makers, the Giustiniani ceramic workshop was moved to nearby Naples by Antonio’s son Nicola (1732–1815) in 1752. There, thanks to the enterprise of Nicola’s own son Biagio (1763–1838), the manufactory became the most sought-after in the Bourbon kingdom and beyond. Under his direction, the Fabbriche Giustiniani produced – amongst other things – vases and vessels all’etrusca, in response to the antiquarian taste of the period and, specifically, the renewed interest in ancient pottery stimulated by the rediscovery of Pompeii. The present wine cooler is a fine and unusual example of the craftsmanship of the Giustiniani. Beautifully decorated in the style of ancient Greek red-figure pots, its foliate cover hides a simple yet ingenious system whereby ice can be stored separately from the wine bottle and unseen. The Bacchic figures depicted on its outside, some drinking and others holding large wine amphorae, are a clear reference to the object’s function.
r o m a n , c. 1800 The tomb of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus Statuary Carrara marble, with red-painted inlay lettering 25.5 cm high; 45 cm wide; 19 cm deep Inscribed L · CORNELOS · CN · F · SCIPIO and CORNELIVS · LVCIVS · SCIPIO · BARBATVS · GNAIVOD · PATRE PROGNATVS · FORTIS · VIR · SAPIENSQVE—QVOIVS · FORMA · VIRTVTEI · PARISVMA FVIT—CONSOL CENSOR · AIDILIS · QVEI · FVIT · APVD · VOS— TAVRASIA · CISAVNA SAMNIO · CEPIT—SVBIGIT · OMNE · LOVCANA · OPSIDESQVE · ABDOVCIT
t h r o u g h o ut t h e 1 8 t h a n d 1 9 t h c e n t u r i e s , models of monuments such as the present work were collected by foreigners on their Italian Grand Tour as souvenirs of the ancient Roman ruins they had visited during their travels. The Tomb of the Scipios, the resting place of members of the patrician Scipio family from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD, was first discovered in 1614, in a vineyard that lay along the Via Appia, in the vicinity of the Porta Capena. Seemingly forgotten, it was rediscovered in 1780, this time to much greater impact. When the burial chamber was explored, the sarcophagus of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, Roman consul and victor over the Etruscans at the Battle of Volterra in 298 BC, was the only one to have survived intact through the centuries. It is now preserved in the Vestibolo Quadrato of the Vatican’s Museo Pio Clementino. Beautifully carved in the finest Carrara statuary marble, the present work is a faithful model of the Roman tomb, which consists of a grey tufa burial coffin – here replaced by marble – decorated with a triglyph- and rosette- carved frieze and surmounted by a lid featuring a foliate motif with scroll ends. It was illustrated by Francesco Piranesi in his Monumenti degli Scipioni, first published in Rome in 1785. The main epitaph, published as no. 550 in Johann Kaspar von Orelli’s Inscriptionum Latinarum Selectarum Amplissima Collectio of 1828, reads: ‘Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, the son of Gnaeus, a courageous and wise man, whose beauty was as great as his manliness, was consul, censor and aedile in your country. He conquered Taurasia and Cisauna, in the Samnium, and subjugated the whole of Lucania, bringing back hostages’.
n i c o la m o r e l l i (1771–1838) A cameo representing Cupid riding a lion whist playing the lyre Chalcedony, in an ormolu frame 5.5 cm high; 7 cm wide with frame 11.5 cm high; 13.5 cm wide Signed MORELLI (lower centre)
r e n o w n e d f o r h i s c a m e o p o rt r a i t s of Napoleon Bonaparte and his circle, Nicola Morelli was one of the most successful gem engravers of his time. Based in Rome, at 10 Piazza di San Carlo al Corso, in 1812 he was nominated accademico di merito at the prestigious Accademia di San Luca. In 1838, shortly after his death, during an assembly of the Congregazione delle Belle Arti he was remembered for his “excellence” and “righteousness”. Particularly noteworthy are his portraits of Napoleon (Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia, Rome); Francis I, Emperor of Austria (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna); Popes Pius V and Pius VIII; and a now lost set of necklace, brooch and earrings presented by Cardinal Joseph Fesch to his half-sister Marie-Letizia Bonaparte, which included nine cameos of members of the Bonaparte family. Morelli was also admired for his work after the Antique, such as a medallion with a Bacchic scene now in Berlin (Antikensammlung Staatliche Museen); a head of a Bacchante at the Metropolitan Museum, New York; one of Medusa in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; and a necklace with a centrepiece representing a sacrifice to Bacchus formerly in the collection of the Dukes of Marlborough (private collection, New York). An ancient onyx cameo representing Cupid riding a lion whist playing the lyre, signed by the Greek 2nd-century BC master Protarchos, is preserved in Florence’s Museo Archeologico Nazionale (inv. 14439). It formed part of the bequest to the city of Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici (1667–1743), Electress Palatine, and was widely reproduced in engravings and texts from the 17th century onwards (for a complete account see A. Giuliano, I cammei della collezione Medicea nel Museo Archeologico di Firenze, Milan, 1989, p. 158, no. 34). It is interesting to note that a cameo of similar subject, with which Morelli would certainly have been familiar, is housed in the Vatican’s Museo Profano (founded in 1761 by Pope Clement XIII), displayed in the cabinets designed by Luigi Valadier (1726–1785) for Pope Pius VI. r e lat e d l i t e r at u r e L. Pirzio Biroli Stefanelli, ‘Nicola Morelli, incisore in pietre dure, Accademico di merito di S. Luca, Virtuoso al Pantheon’, Bollettino dei Musei Comunali di Roma, VI, 1992, pp. 63–76
i ta l i a n, 18th century Venus de’ Medici Bronze with rich brown patina 35 cm high
t h i s e l e g a n t b r o n z e s tat u et t e is based on the famed Roman marble statue the Venus de’ Medici, which has been located in the Tribuna of the Florentine Uffizi since 1688. The nude Venus looks to her left and attempts to cover herself as she emerges from the water accompanied by a stylized dolphin. An ancient symbol of female beauty and desire, in attempting to conceal herself she in fact does much to accentuate her nudity and sexuality. Highly esteemed and hugely popular since the 17th century, the Medici Venus was studied and copied by artists in a variety of media, and her praises were repeatedly sung in books, poems, letters and travel diaries. Small-scale bronze versions of the work were highly sought-after in the 18th century, but more frequently appeared without the dolphin support featured in the antique model. In this period, the Medici Venus was often paired with other statues situated in the Tribuna, like the Dancing Faun. r e lat e d l i t e r at u r e F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 325–28, no. 88
s i r j o h n s oa n e , r . a . (1753–1837), circle of, late 18th century An English statuary marble chimneypiece Exterior height 123.8 cm; exterior width 193.7 cm; interior height 102.4 cm; interior width 123.2 cm; footblock to footblock 28.2 cm; depth 17.1 cm
o n e o f t h e m o s t d i s t i n g u i s h e d and influential architects of his time, Sir John Soane produced designs for some of the foremost residences and institutions of Georgian England, including 10 Downing Street, the Bank of England, the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, and Dulwich Picture Gallery. His drawings of chimneypieces, examples of which are preserved today in the Sir John Soane’s Museum, beautifully illustrate his masterful command of classical elements and unique ability to combine them in an original and refined manner. Inspired by Soane’s work, this exceptional chimneypiece consists of an elegant shelf, bordered by a fine acanthus leaf frieze, resting on recessed jambs decorated with foliate cornices and, on each side, shell and anthemion motifs at the top and gathered, looped garlands of flowers carved in low relief below. Chimneypieces were a central element to Georgian interiors, as testified by the beautiful designs produced not only by Soane but also by many other celebrated architects and sculptors of the period, such as Sir Henry Cheere (1703–1781), William Chambers (1723–1796), Robert Adam (1728–1792) and John Nash (1752–1835). Ornate, with classical motifs and garlands like the façades of antique temples, chimneypieces would have also been adorned with precious objects such as table clocks and porcelain or bronze statuettes, perfectly reflecting the Grand Tour taste.
TOMASSO BROTHERS FINE ART