Here ATG selects five examples collected by Grand Tourists that are coming up at regional salerooms including a carrara marble sculpture by Paolo Andrea Triscornia to be offered for sale in Lincolnshire tomorrow.
The term 'Grand Tour' was coined by the Catholic priest and travel writer Richard Lassels (c.1603-68), who used it in his influential guidebook The Voyage of Italy to describe young male aristocrats travelling abroad to learn about art, architecture and antiquity. During the 18th century the trip became the de rigueur way for the British upper classes, usually chaperoned by a tutor, to finish their education.
The popularity of two or three years on the continent waxed and waned depending on the ease of travel. According to the National Trust, the growth of the British Grand Tour was “especially remarkable in the years 1764 to 1796 - a golden age in terms of the number of travellers, tourist-painters, excavations and export licenses released from Rome to British citizens - coinciding with a long period of peace and prosperity in Europe”.
1 Batemans: Carrara marble sculpture
A Carrara marble sculpture by Paolo Andrea Triscornia (Italian, 1757-1833) is coming up for sale tomorrow at Batemans in Stamford, Lincolnshire. The subject is Eros and Anteros, the sons of Aphrodite and Ares, fighting over a heart.
According to Greek mythology, Anteros was conceived as a companion to Eros, whose growth was stunted due to loneliness; just as love must be returned if it is to blossom, so it is that the two brothers needed one another to grow and develop. However, their relationship also represented the contrast between friendship and rivalry, devotion and conflict, and they were often depicted wrestling with one another in competition. Carved in the round, this statue is after the original composition by Francois-Joseph LeClercq (1755-1826). Measuring 14.5 x 11 x 22in (37 x 28 x 55cm), it is signed to the base.
Triscornia was trained in Rome and became a professor of the Academy in Carrara at the beginning of the 19th century, before relocating to Russia to work for the Tsar. Many of his sculptures remain there to this day, with several examples to be found in the Hermitage in St Petersburg. This sculpture has provenance to sales at Sotheby’s and Dorotheum.
It is estimated at £4000-6000 at Batemans Fine Art, Antiques and Collectables sale which begins, at 12pm tomorrow (September 1).
2. Wright Marshall: Plaster intaglios
A collection of approximately 90 Grand Tour-style plaster intaglios of various sizes in a four tier wooden case will be offered at Wright Marshall’s September 4-5 two day sale in Knutsford, Cheshire. Estimated at £500-700, the largest is approximately 3in (8cm) long. These reliefs typically depicted scenes from Greek or Roman mythology – the perfect aide memoire for a returning traveller who wished to tell friends and family of his journey to the continent.
3. Swan Fine Art: Marble table top
This early 19th century Italian circular specimen marble table top is set in an Edwardian mahogany base, typical for the period. The 2ft 5.5in (75cm) diameter top is estimated at £500-700 at Swan Fine Art’s two day sale in High Wycombe on September 6-7.
4. Cheffins: Plaster intaglios
Another collection of plaster intaglios are coming up for auction at Cheffins in Cambridge. This collection of 19th century plaster portrait intaglios within a fitted mahogany case, across eight trays comprises around 320 relief roundels. The case, raised on bun feet, measures 8 x 15 x 11in (21.5 x 38.5 x 29cm). It is estimated at £500-800 at the two day sale on September 12-13.
5. Rowley’s Fine Art Auctioneers: Marble sculpture
Those who couldn’t afford a classical antiquity would often be content with a well-made reproduction made by one of the many carving workshops in Rome. This 19th century Grand Tour classical male figure marble sculpture will be offered at Rowley’s Fine Art Auctioneers on September 11-12 in Newmarket, Suffolk. The seated model at 13in (33cm) high, has some condition issues including staining, chips, cracks and general wear, and is estimated at £300-500.