• Architectural Heritage: The Ad auction at Christies

    Sale 5458

    Architectural Heritage: The Adrian and Suzy Puddy Collection

    10 March 2010, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 150

    A PAIR OF ITALIAN MARBLE MODELS OF THE ALCIBIADES DOGS

    SECOND HALF 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A PAIR OF ITALIAN MARBLE MODELS OF THE ALCIBIADES DOGS
    SECOND HALF 19TH CENTURY
    After the Antique, on integral naturalistic bases and white painted wood plinths
    The dogs -- 48 in. (122 cm.) high; 50½ in. (128 cm.) wide; 24½ 62 cm.) deep (2)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    The Hellenistic sculpture the 'Dog of Alcibiades' was modelled on a Molossian dog, ancestor of the modern mastiff. Henry Constantine Jennings of Shiplake acquired the only known Roman copy of the lost bronze original, dating from the 2nd century, during his stay in Rome between 1753 and 1756 when he rescued it from a pile of rubble in a Roman sculpture workshop for a total of £80. Jennings liked to call the sculpture the 'Dog of Alcibiades', after Alcibiades, an Athenian statesman. According to the Greek biographer and philosopher Plutarch, Alcibiades owned a large, handsome dog whose tail was "his principal ornament". Alcibiades cut off his tail and when told that "all Athens" felt pity for the dog, laughed and said "I wished the Athenians to talk about this, that they might not say something worse of me". Jennings's motive was probably much the same, for the Dog became so famous in England that the owner was called 'Dog-Jennings' and replicas were thought to make "a most noble appearance in a gentleman's hall" according to Dr Johnson. It was considered a sign of true gentlemanly taste to own a copy of this dog. Though the original and the present copies do not lack tails, it was Jennings's hope to associate the figure with the cachet of ancient Greek civilisation. By 1816, Jennings was in debt and forced to sell his dog stating "A fine dog it was, and a lucky dog was I to purchase it." Jennings's original now resides in the British Museum, London.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    This lot will be removed to an off-site warehouse at the close of business on the day of sale - 2 weeks free storage


    Provenance

    Property from the Estate of Leona M. Helmsley, Christie's, New York, 9 April 2008.