AN IMPORTANT ITALIAN CARRARA MARBLE FIGURAL CHIMNEY-PIECE
AN IMPORTANT ITALIAN CARRARA MARBLE FIGURAL CHIMNEY-PIECE
AN IMPORTANT ITALIAN CARRARA MARBLE FIGURAL CHIMNEY-PIECE
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AN IMPORTANT ITALIAN CARRARA MARBLE FIGURAL CHIMNEY-PIECE
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This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more The Treaty of Turin Fireplace
AN IMPORTANT ITALIAN CARRARA MARBLE FIGURAL CHIMNEY-PIECE

CIRCA 1860

Details
AN IMPORTANT ITALIAN CARRARA MARBLE FIGURAL CHIMNEY-PIECE
CIRCA 1860
The serpentine Saint Anne marble mantle shelf above a shaped header carved in high relief with putti emblematic of war, the left pillar with putti holding aloft the Imperial Standard of Napoléon III and the right with the Cross of Savoy, joined at the base with a hearth slab
51 ¼ in. (130 cm.) high; 78 in. (198 cm.) wide; 18 ½ in. (47 cm.) deep
Special notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

Brought to you by

Giles Forster
Giles Forster

Lot Essay

Finely sculpted from pure Carrara marble with playful cherubs, this magnificent chimney-piece is a celebration of the creation of a unified Italy, commemorating the Treaty of Turin which in 1860 concluded between France and Sardinia-Piedmont the annexation of the Duchy of Savoy and the County of Nice to Napoleon III’s France. Consequently, France forced Austria ‘to cede Lombardy to Sardinia-Piedmont thus creating a power centre in Northern Italy strong enough to attract the allegiance of the rest of the country. By 1861 Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia-Piedmont was King of Italy with the exception of Rome (the Papal State) and Venice, which remained Austrian. In 1864, the French occupied Rome with Italian consent, neutralizing the secular power of the Pope, and Venice became Italian two years later, when Italy joined Prussia in her victorious war against Austria’ (H.W. Janson, Nineteenth-Century Sculpture, Washington, 1985, p. 129).

This chimney-piece honours this achievement of international diplomacy remarkably free from bloodletting, with impish putti holding the Imperial Standard of Napoléon III welcoming their new compatriots bearing the Cross of Savoy overlooked by equally adorable putti emblematic of conflict. Whoever sculpted this chimney-piece with such a good-humoured interpretation of solemn matters of state, obviously could not foresee Prussia’s defeat of Napoleon III’s France in 1870 and the collapse of the Second French Empire. Such elaborately carved chimney-pieces are exceedingly rare, but an attribution may be made to the Romanelli family of Florence who sculpted a chimney-piece with a procession of putti led by a lion drawn chariot amid billowing clouds, at Carbisdale Castle, Scotland.

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