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A cast zinc figure of Odysseus – estimate €18,000-25,000 at Lempertz on April 24.

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It was produced in the 1840s in the Berlin foundry of Anton Albert Meves, one of several craftsmen in Berlin who specialised in casting works of art in iron and zinc.

The figure, which has a guide of €18,000-25,000, is based on a plaster sculpture executed in the mid-1820s by Christian Friedrich Tieck.

He worked closely with the Berlin architect and multi-faceted artist Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the design and furnishing of a tea-salon, created in the Berlin royal palace for the Prussian Queen Elisabeth. Tieck modelled 15 mythological and classical figures, which were mounted along the walls on brackets. The finished appearance of the room is known only from contemporary watercolours.

Tieck had hoped that he would receive commissions to replicate his figures in marble, but in vain. In the 1840s, however, some of the figures were cast in zinc, including the 2ft 9in (85cm) high Odysseus in the sale, which corresponds with the size of the original plaster figure.

This version would appear to be unique; no other contemporary copies have survived. This applies not only to the other zinc casts, but also to many of the original plaster figures. Berlin museums own several, badly war-damaged figures from the tea-salon, many others are lost.

The royal residence was badly bombed in the Second World War and then demolished by the East German government in 1950. It is currently being rebuilt as a cultural centre and museum.

lempertz.com