The present lead figure of Spring derives from a marble original in the gardens of Versailles. This figure, sculpted by Laurent Magnier between 1674 and 1681, was itself part of a group of the Four Seasons executed from designs supplied by Charles Lebrun. The three companion figures at Versailles are:
-Summer, by Pierre Hutinot (1616-1679)
-Autumn, by Thomas Regnaudin (1622-1706)
-Winter, by Francois Girardon (1628-1715)
The present lead version of Spring is a mirror image of Magnier's figure, suggesting that the design was taken from an engraving, possibly Simon Thomassin's survey of the garden statuary at Versailles, published in 1694. This figure probably originates from the workshops of John Cheere, who is known to have supplied an identical model for the sixth Earl of Coventry's country seat, Croome Court. It was placed in a niche of the Orangery (designed by Robert Adam). Cheere's bill for this figure, and for its pair, Ceres totals 48 guineas, and is receipted 5th June, 1763.
Two lead figures by Cheere survive at Southill, they are slightly modified examples of Hutinot's Summer and Girardon's Winter.
We are grateful to John Davis for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.