An Italian white carved marble Chimneypiece,

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Lot 9
An Italian white carved marble Chimneypiece,

Sold for £ 42,000 (US$ 54,082) inc. premium
An Italian white carved marble Chimneypiece,
the moulded shelf carved with egg and dart and dentil decoration above a frieze carved in low relief with a procession of dancing putti playing musical instruments; the jambs carved with caryatid terms wearing classical drapery and supporting woven baskets above their heads, the whole raised on plain rectangular block feet, parts 18th century, some elements missing, blocks possibly reduced, 244cm wide, 38cm deep, 186cm high

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    By repute removed from either Gibside Hall or Streatlam Castle and subsequently stored at Glamis Castle, Scotland
    By repute sold from Glamis some time in between 1959 and 1967

    The present chimneypiece is reputed to have provenance from the Earls of Strathmore. Many of the contents of their two Durham properties Gibside and Streatlam were taken to Glamis Castle in the early part of the 20th century. It is from Glamis that this chimneypiece is believed to have been sold.

    The frieze on the offered lot is almost identical to one which was formerly in the Breakfast Room at Nostell Priory, Yorkshire (see illustration). Although it was referred to as being made by Robert Adam in Christopher Hussey's Country Life article (30th May, 1952) recent research has revealed that it was not installed in the room until 1820. Although many aspects of decoration were left unfinished at the time of Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Bt.'s death in a carriage accident in 1785, there is no indication that the Breakfast Room was left lacking and, indeed, the style of the chimneypiece is very different from that of Adam.

    Charles Winn, who inherited Nostell following the death of his brother John in Rome in 1817, did much to enrich the house using a London decorator called Thomas Ward from Frith Street. Ward is known to have entirely redecorated the room between 1819 and 1821. Whilst it is possible that Ward may have acquired the Nostell chimneypiece in London, there is also the possibility that the chimneypiece is that referred to in John Winn's Grand Tour account book (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Nostell MSS A1.6.2-3) of 1817 which, in Rome, records 9th May "Paid for a marble chimney piece - 100 ducats". There is a further reference in John Winn's accounts 1816-17 (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Nostell MSS A1.7.7) on 9th May 1817 "Marble chimney piece, Bigliochi".

    The frieze depicts winged dancing putti playing musical instruments, with cupid in the centre in a chariot pulled by horses. The scene is an allegorical depiction of the idea “love conquers all,” - the motif of the conquering cupid was popular during the Renaissance, inspired by imagery appearing in a section of a poem by Petrarch who describes cupid in his chariot drawn by four white horses. Its source is almost certainly a Renaissance engraving in the Rijksmuseum entitled ‘The Triumph of Love’ by the ‘Master of the Dice’ believed to be based on a frieze by Raphael (Museum No. RP-P-OB-38.567).

    We are very grateful to Gareth Williams for providing unpublished research about the Nostell chimneypiece.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note there will be 17.5% VAT on the hammer price of this lot
An Italian white carved marble Chimneypiece,
An Italian white carved marble Chimneypiece,
An Italian white carved marble Chimneypiece,
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25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
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