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THE ARUNDEL MARBLES FROM FAWLEY COURT
Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel (1585-1646) formed the first important collection of Classical Sculpture in this country. Enamoured of this art by visiting Italy in his youth with Thomas Coke and later Inigo Jones and making his first acquisitions of sculpture, he later appointed an agent, the Rev. William Petty, to visit Athens and Turkey to purchase statuary sculpture on his behalf. With enormous energy he set about collecting over 200 statues, busts, sarcophagi, altars and inscriptions, scoring over his patron's closest rival, the Duke of Buckingham. These were shipped back to England, where by 1618 they had become the focal point of his sculpture gallery in Arundel House in the Strand.
Sadly, this enlightened man's love of the antique was not shared by his heirs. Henry, 6th Duke of Norfolk, pulled down Arundel House and many of the pieces were sold off or buried under the rubble. Sir William Fermor bought some of the more important items, which his daughter-in-law the Dowager Duchess of Pomfret bequeathed to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where they became the basis of its sculpture collection. In 1691, Thomas Howard's great-grandson, the 7th Duke of Norfolk, gave a number of items to a former servant Boyder Cuper, who transported them to Kennington and incorporated them into his garden, which came to be corruptly known and 'Cupid's Garden'. Here they were seen and recorded by John Aubrey in his publication Natural History and Antiquities of Surrey, vol. V. In 1712 they were spotted by John Freeman of Fawley Court, Henley-on-Thames, and his friend Edmund Waller of Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, who purchased them for £75 and divided them between their respective homes.
Here they lay for more than two centuries and a half before Denys Haynes, former Keeper of the Greek and Roman Department of the British Museum, rediscovered them in their habitat. The fallen Giant from the frieze of the Great Altar of Pergamon had been incorporated into a circular niche in a neo-Gothic folly in the grounds of Fawley Court, by John Freeman, circa 1730.