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    Sale 7745

    Important European Furniture, Sculpture & Clocks

    9 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 114

    A CARVED MARBLE FIGURE OF HEBE

    ATTRIBUTED TO ANTONIO MONTAUTI (CIRCA 1685-AFTER 1740), CIRCA 1721-22

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A CARVED MARBLE FIGURE OF HEBE
    ATTRIBUTED TO ANTONIO MONTAUTI (CIRCA 1685-AFTER 1740), CIRCA 1721-22
    Depicted standing and wearing a classical shift; holding flowers in her right hand and an urn carved in relief; on an integrally carved rocky base; surface dirt, minor losses
    55 in. (139.7 cm.) high


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    The sculpture collection at Shirburn Castle in Oxfordshire was one of the most important English collections of sculpture to be assembled in the 18th century (for the history of the bronzes and plaster busts after the antique, see the catalogue of The Macclesfield Sculpture, Christie's London, 1 December 2005). Its creator, Thomas Parker, was Lord Chancellor, and in 1716 he purchased Shirburn Castle and set about enlarging it as a reflection of his own growth in importance and wealth. His son George was sent on the Grand Tour between 1720 and 1722, and while travelling through Italy his father was created Earl of Macclesfield.

    Apart from receiving a classical education, one of the goals for Lord Parker (as he became) while in Italy, was to purchase or commission works of art for the newly renovated Shirburn. Paintings, bronzes and plaster were all acquired, as were marbles, both antique and modern. Helping him were his kinsman and travelling companion Edward Wright, along with a number of advisors who lived locally. Among these was Alessandro Galilei, an architect.

    Antonio Montauti was a pupil of Giuseppe Piamontini; he flourished in the final flowering of artistic patronage under the Medici Grand Dukes of Florence. Although apparently not explicitly referred to in documents, the Hebe shares the same provenance as the following lot (see note to the Ganymede and the Eagle, lot 115), and was probably also commissioned from Montauti through the architect Alessandro Galilei.

    Hebe was the goddess of youth and attendant to the gods of Mount Olympus until the arrival of Ganymede, and in this sense she is a logical female pendant to the following lot. She relinquished her urn - decorated here with a relief of Zeus and a male attendant - to him when he was brought to Olympus. Famed for her beauty, she was wed to Hercules after his death and subsequent apotheosis.

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    Provenance

    Probably commissioned by the Hon. John Molesworth (1679-1726), through the offices of the architect Alessandro Galilei circa 1721.
    Purchased by Thomas, 1st Earl of Macclesfield, circa 1723-25.
    Thence by descent at Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
    (LOTS 114-115)


    Literature

    J. Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800, New Haven and London, 1997, p. 666.

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    K. Lankheit, Florentinische Barockplastik - Die Kunst am Hofe der letzten Medici 1670-1743, Munich, 1962, p. 376, fig. 140.
    G. Pratesi, Repertorio della Scultura Fiorentina del Seicento e Settecento, Turin, 1993, I, pp. 52, 55-56, 94, II, figs. 342-357, III, figs. 438-439.
    T. P. Connor, 'The Fruits of the Grand Tour - Edward Wright and Lord Parker in Italy, 1720-22', in Apollo, July 1998, pp. 23-30.