The Rome-trained sculptor Joseph Ceracchi (d. 1801), through a recommendation from Horace Mann in Venice, moved to London in 1773. He was established in the workshops of Agostino Carlini R.A. (d. 1790) and executed work for both Sir William Chambers and Robert Adam, joint architects to George III. He was celebrated for his portrait busts and during the three years before his departure from London in 1779, exhibited twelve works at the Royal Academy. This superb portrait of a youth is likely to be one of the pair of 'young noblemen' medallions that he exhibited in 1777. His contemporary medallion of Dr. Joseph Priestly (d. 1779) was executed for Josiah Wedgwood's series 'Illustrious Moderns' (see P. Masini, Giuseppe Ceracchi, Exhibition at the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome, 1989, no. 2.).
Henry Myron Blackmer II was renowned for his extraordinary collection of books, paintings, antiquities and furniture, all of which reflected his passion for not just Classical style and Antiquity, but also Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire. The Neo-classical house he built for himself in Athens when he moved there in 1963, commanded a spectacular view of the Parthenon. See lots 138, 184, 203, 214 and 345