• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2042

    Important English Furniture

    17 October 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 113

    A LATE GEORGE III STATUARY WHITE MARBLE CHIMNEYPIECE

    CIRCA 1790

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A LATE GEORGE III STATUARY WHITE MARBLE CHIMNEYPIECE
    CIRCA 1790
    The tablet depicting Hebe attending Jupiter's eagle
    60 in. (152.5 cm.) high, 199 in. (505.5 cm.) wide, 6½ in. (16.5 cm.) deep


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    The statuary marble chimneypiece has its pilasters and frieze embellished with clustered reeds in the late l8th century 'Egyptian' fashion. Its central tablet is sculpted in bas-relief with cloud-borne Hebe attending Jupiter's eagle with life-giving water and evokes antiquity's banquet of the gods. Sacrifices at Love's altar in antiquity is recalled by its figurative pilasters. One veil-draped vestal attends the hearth while listening to the words read by her companion, and they are supported on triumphal palm-wreathed Bacchic-altar plinths that bear veil-draped ram heads and are raised on lion paws. This style of chimneypiece was popularised by G.B. Piranesi's Diverse maniere d'adornare i cammini that was published in Rome in 1769. The chimneypiece is likely to have been executed by the celebrated sculptor John Bacon, R.A. (d.1799), whose early training as a modeller for a porcelain manufacturer helped his ability to introduce the appearance of porcelain to his delicately sculpted marble.

    Provenance

    Bought from Crowther of Syon Lodge, Middlesex, 1983.


    Saleroom Notice

    The correct measurements for the chimneypiece are:
    51 in. (129 cm.) high; 78 in. (198 cm.) wide; 10 in. (16.5 cm.) deep overall.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF MRS. BARBARA PIASECKA JOHNSON,
    THE PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT THE INSTITUTE FOR CHILD DEVELOPMENT IN GDANSK, POLAND