A Fine Monumental Bronze Cannon
Lot 215W
A Fine Monumental Bronze Cannon
Sold for £48,050 (US$ 80,763) inc. premium
Lot Details
A Fine Monumental Bronze Cannon
19th Century, Probably Italian
Of great weight, hollow and finely cast and chased in high relief in four principle stages divided by three raised bands of oak and laurel foliage supported by ribbons and framing, on each side, a Classical figure including Hercules, Mars and Minerva, a band of acanthus beyond interrupted by bearded grotesque masks, the first reinforce with a central scrolled cartouche inscribed 'Valerio Lvdovisio Campaniae Dvci Conest-Galliae Max-MDCIX', and flanked by Classical figures, the second reinforce with a coat-of-arms and motto within a cartouche against a trophy of arms, the forward section decorated along either side with a winged figure of Victory (trumpets slightly damaged), and along one side with an elaborate Classical battlescene, and along the other with a triumphal procession within an architectural landscape, the muzzle formed in the round as a mustachioed monster's head, the cascabel formed in the round as the head of Zephyrus centred on a rounded base with two naked female figures supporting a flaming torch, with a vase of fruit and foliage beneath on each side, trunnions each terminating in a grotesque mask, and in fine condition with dark green patination overall; together with the remains of its iron-mounted carved wooden carriage with four spoked wheels, and an iron strongbox in poor condition (a lot)
253 cm. barrel, 11.5 cm. bore


  • This tour de force of the bronze founders art was possibly cast to adorn the gardens of the Villa Ludovisi which was bought from Cardinal Del Monte by Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi and reconstructed in the 1620s to house his collection of Roman antiquities. The richness of the gardens, occupying an area that had been known as the Gardens of Sallust, was well-known, for, in 1828, Stenghal to declare the gardens among the most beautiful in the world. Due to financial troubles the last owner, Don Rudolfo Boncompagni Ludovisi, Prince of Piombino, sold the property to developers who divided the buildings and grounds into building lots, the gardens and renowned collections dispersed

    The inscriptions seem to be purely imaginative as there does not appear to have been a battle of note in France or Italy in 1609. The ruling Prince of Piombino reigned from 1602 until 1611, and the legend of French occupation may refer to when Prince Antonio of Piombino (1778-1805) was deposed by invading French troops in 1799 and again in 1801. It is interesting to note that General Joachin Murat and his wife Caroline, nee Bonaparte, were rulers of Naples at this time, and another Bonaparte, Elisa, ruled in Lucca, having been made hereditary Princess of Piombino in 1805

    The coat-of-arms appears to be that of Mellada of Dalmatia

    This lot may be viewed by prior arrangement at Bonhams warehouse, Unit 1, Sovereign Park, Coronation Road, Park Royal, London NW10 7QP. To make an appointment please contact the Antique Arms and Armour Department
  1. David Williams
    Specialist - Arms and Armor
    Montpelier Street
    London, SW7 1HH
    United Kingdom
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