Thursday - 11 February 2016

Roman life in clay at £9500

27 June 2014Written by Roland Arkell

The Roman artist Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781-1835) is best known as a prolific engraver, selling to tourists his prints portraying the everyday life and costumes of characters encountered in and around the Piazza della Rotonda.

But towards the end of his life he also began to work in terracotta, using the skills acquired from his father (a maker of crib figures) to create maquettes now admired for freshness of execution and 'honesty' of subject matter.

This 14in (35cm) wide example, depicting three peasant women in local costume linked arm-in-arm, emerged at Moore Allen & Innocent's sale in Cirencester on June 6.

The cover illustration to the catalogue, it was inscribed to the base Pinelli F. Roma 1833 - just two years before Pinelli died in poverty.

Two previous results suggested the estimate of £1000-1500 would fall a little short. Back in 2001, Christie's sold a similar Pinelli terracotta group of a man, woman and child embracing, dated 1831, for £4700, while another dated 1829 depicting a brigand assailing two women sold at Sotheby's in 2007 for £17,000.

The hammer price in Cirencester was £9500.

The buyer's premium was 18%.


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