Neo-Classical Marble Column

The rise of the Grand Tour in the mid 18th century directly coincided with a resurgence in interest in classical architecture, sculpture and art. Led predominantly by the sons of the English aristocracy, young men travelled to the continent to learn of the noble classical traditions and to the view ancient ruins. These tourists, as well improving their learning, were often great collectors of art which was brought home to furnish their English houses. A whole industry was built around servicing the needs of these tourists; ateliers sprang up, portraits and sculptures were commissioned, and ancient artifacts were purchased. Most prized of all were original Roman antiquities.

This marble column, whilst bearing many of the hallmarks of an original 1st century piece, was probably commissioned by a Grand Tourist in the mid 18th century. The classical lines and structure of the tapering triangular form are complimented by the ornate surfaces and rams head corner capitals. This column, like other pieces brought to England from the continent, ended up in an English country house - in this case the collection of 20th century figurative artist Anthony Fry.

Of tapering triangular form, the top with three rams heads to each corner; each flat surface carved with finely depicted scrolling leafy and flowering tendrils sprouting from ferns in full leaf. The base with a paw foot to each corner. Various old areas of restoration and a large rectangular infill to one surface, seemingly of the same period to the original carving.

The column is very similar to one designed by Robert Adam at Kenwood House. Please see image attached.

Provenance: Anthony Fry (1927-2016). Longridge House, Box, Wiltshire. Sold West Country auction, 2016.

Literature: A similar triangular candelabra base with rams head, claw foot and expressive floral detail is in the Apollo and Daphne Room, Piazzale Scipione Borghese, Rome

18th century of the Roman School
H 117cm x W 46cm x D 46cm
H 46.08" x W 18.12" x D 18.12"


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