Two Roman marble figures of Celtic hounds  2

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Lot 151
Two Roman marble figures of Celtic hounds
2

Sold for £ 807,062 (US$ 1,010,775) inc. premium
Two Roman marble figures of Celtic hounds
Circa 2nd Century A.D.
The male Celtic hound seated upright with his head tilted upwards, wearing a studded collar, the slender powerful body with visibly defined rib-cage, shown resting with his tail between his legs on a rock-like base, the head, neck, and part of the left foreleg restored in the 18th Century; together with a seated Celtic greyhound bitch wearing a wide studded collar, the slender body naturalistically carved, with her right foreleg raised, her haunches and left paw resting on an integral arch-shaped base, her muzzle, ears, part of the neck and the lower half of the raised right foreleg restored in the 18th Century, 74.5 and 68cm high respectively (2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Found among the ruins of Antoninus Pius' Laurentine Villa, by Prince Chigi, at Torre Paterno, circa 1795-6, as recorded by C. M. Westmacott, British galleries of Painting and sculpture, London, 1824.
    Thomas Hope (1769-1831) collection, acquired in Italy circa 1795-1803; and thence by descent to Lord Henry Francis Hope Pelham-Clinton-Hope (1866-1941).
    Originally displayed as a pair in the statue gallery, Duchess Street, London, 1804-1849. The hounds were subsequently moved to Deepdene House, Dorking, Surrey, where Adolf Michaelis recorded them in the Gallery of the Entrance Hall.
    Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of Greek, Roman & Egyptian Sculpture and Ancient Greek Vases, Being a Portion of The Hope Heirlooms; Christie's, London, 23-24 July 1917, lots 226 and 227.
    Purchased from the above sale by a UK collector, for 720 gns and 280 gns each; and thence by descent to the present owner.
    Arachne no. 50036.

    Published:
    T. D. Fosbrooke, The Outlines of Statues in the Possession of Mr Hope, (never published), for which illustrations were furnished by T. D. Fosbrooke, London, 1813, pl. 4.
    C. M. Westmacott, British galleries of Painting and Sculpture, London, 1824, 'Mr Hope's Collection', p. 223.
    A. Michaelis, Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, Cambridge, 1882, p. 287, nos. 21 and 23.
    G. Lippold in P. Arndt and W. Amelung, Photographische Einzelaufnahmen antiker Sculpturen, 1893-1943, EA 4866 and 4867.
    G. Rodenwaldt, Jahrbuch des deutschen archäologischen Instituts, 48, 1933, p. 204-5.
    C. C. Vermeule, 'Notes on a New Edition of Michaelis: Ancient Marbles in Great Britain', AJA 59, 1955, p. 134.
    G. Waywell, The Lever and Hope Sculptures, Berlin, 1986, p. 90, nos 36 & 37, pl. 54.

    Thomas Hope (1769-1831), artist, novelist and Classical art historian was one of the most renowned art collectors of his day. At the age of eighteen he embarked on his Grand Tour and with lavish amounts of family money acquired most of his collection of ancient Roman marble sculptures in Italy between 1795-1803. It is regarded as one of the finest collections of Roman sculpture ever to have been formed in Britain. The hounds would have been one of his earliest purchases and were proudly displayed in his London town-house in Duchess Street in the Statue Gallery from 1804-1849. He decorated each room in his Duchess Street family home in the style of the countries that he had visited, and opened the town house up to serve as a semi-public museum.

    In appearance, anatomical physique and size the Hope Hounds bear a close resemblance to the Townley greyhounds now in the British Museum, London, acc. no. 1805,0703.8. The Townley group depicts a dog and bitch at play and was excavated in 1774 at Monte Cagniolo along with another greyhound group that was acquired for the Vatican in the year of their excavation, Vatican Museum, Belvedere Palace, Room of Animals, (TY 12/3: Library 4). The Vatican group depicts two slender seated hounds, one licking the ear of the other. Although the Hope Hounds were initially thought to be greyhounds, Rodenwaldt more specifically identified the breed as Celtic Greyhounds, vertragus, however the Townley hounds have alternatively been identified by Sir Terence Clark as salukis.
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Two Roman marble figures of Celtic hounds  2
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