This is a reduction of the celebrated Fontana delle Tartarughe (Fountain of the Tortoises) by Giacomo della Porta, in the Piazza Mattei, Rome
This late 19th century small scale bronze reflects a renewed admiration for the smooth, beautifully finished and often capricious 16th century Mannerist sculptures of Giambologna and his contemporaries, such as Giacomo della Porta. The original sculpture of 1585 has been considered the most distinguished Roman fountain of its day. The overall design is attributed to Giacomo della Porta; it combines massive shell-shaped stone bowls with animated, elegant bronze figures of boys, the contriubtion of Taddeo Landini (1561-96). The tortoises that clamber from the hands of the boys over the rim of the central basin, increasing the charm and humour of the fountain, were in fact added in 1658. Small-scale bronze sculptures and statuettes were an important part of 16th century collecting, decorating the studiolo or cabinet of curiosities. -Such objects were to perform the same role for many late 19th century collectors.