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    Sale 11899

    Sculpture

    13 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 69

    A PARCEL-GILT MARBLE RELIEF PANEL OF AN ANGEL WITH COLUMN

    BY FARMER & BRINDLEY, AFTER THE DESIGN BY GEORGE FREDERICK BODLEY RA (1827-1907)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PARCEL-GILT MARBLE RELIEF PANEL OF AN ANGEL WITH COLUMN
    BY FARMER & BRINDLEY, AFTER THE DESIGN BY GEORGE FREDERICK BODLEY RA (1827-1907)
    On a faux rosso antico ground, in a later wood frame
    28 ¾ x 15 ¾ in. (73 x 40 cm)


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    Hailed by some as "the most important work of the kind ever erected in England in the Italian style", and chastised by others for its overly ornate and even idolatrous nature, the Bodley Reredos have a controversial and storied past.
    In the early 1880's the interior of Saint Paul's Cathedral originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren, underwent a re-design. Victorian architect George Frederick Bodley's (1827-1907) designed the altar and surrounds, which were constructed by the firm of Farmer and Brindley. The designs were executed in white Parian marble with panels in rosso antico, verde di Parto, and Brescia marbles and gilt detailed decoration. The reredos alone, which rose to an overall height of seventy-five feet behind the altar, are reported to have cost the astounding sum of £28,000. The present lots were a series of eleven reliefs depicting the various aspects of the Passion of Christ and were installed as a part of a frieze beneath the solomonic columns of the reredos.
    Upon its completion, it was hailed by many critics as the most important decorative scheme of the age. However some viewed the incorporation of embellishments as Gothic German counter-reformation arrangements and contrary to the simple Protestant ideal and Wren's original designs. Upon the unveiling of the altar and reredos a group of Protestant churchmen initiated a campaign against the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral for erecting such superstitious symbols. The altar and surrounds survived the court case and the controversy surrounding them ultimately made them a major tourist attraction. The reredos was later exposed to some damage during the Blitz and was eventually dismantled in the 1970s.

    Special Notice

    Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.


    Provenance

    St Paul's Cathedral, London.
    The Important Sculptures from the Bodley Reredos of St. Paul's Cathedral, London; Bonham's, New York, 29 November 2005, lot 9.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE BODLEY REREDOS

    PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE CALIFORNIA COLLECTOR


    Literature

    Wright, John, Rev. D.D., LL.D. Some notable altars in the Church of England and the American Episcopal Church, New York, 1908, pp. 66-69.