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    Sale 7568

    Seven Centuries: Italian Works of Art From Palazzo Odescalchi, Rome

    8 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 320

    AN ORMOLU-MOUNTED GREEN PORPHYRY AND MARBLE ATHENIENNE

    ITALIAN, LATE 18TH OR EARLY 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN ORMOLU-MOUNTED GREEN PORPHYRY AND MARBLE ATHENIENNE
    ITALIAN, LATE 18TH OR EARLY 19TH CENTURY
    The circular bowl on three rectangular supports headed by lion masks and with lion's paw feet, embellished with intertwined ormolu laurel leaf garlands; all on tripartite porphyry and marble plinth with ormolu bead borders and bun feet; minor chips
    18¼ in. (46.4 cm.) high


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    Designed by the banker Jean-Henri Eberts (1726-1803) after that of similar form in Joseph-Marie Vien's painting of 1762, La vertueuse athenienne and introduced in an advertisement in the Parisian newspaper the Avant-Coureur for 27 September, 1773, the athenienne symbolizes the marriage of archaeological forms and fancy during the late 18th century when the neoclassic style was all the rage in fashionable intimate interiors. The uses of the athenienne were eight: as an ornament and focal point in the middle of a room; as a table under a pier mirror, or in a corner, or as a pedestal to support a candelabrum or a piece of sculpture; as a perfume burner; as a heater for making coffee, tea, or chocolate; as a goldfish bowl; as a planter to grow bulbs in winter; as a bowl for cut flowers; and as a device for keeping bouillon or other drinks warm. The athinienne was first retailed from the shop near the porte Saint-Martin of the painter, gilder, varnisher, and author of the famous treatise on gilding, Jean-Felix Watin (b. 1728).

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