Offered by Gorringe’s in Lewes on March 30, it came for sale from the family of Alfred Theodore Arber- Cooke (c.1905-93), an antiquarian and an avid collector of European and Asian works of art buying from the 1930s to the 1980s.
He lived first in Wimbledon, south London, and then in Llandovery in Carmarthenshire – writing local history books about both places.
Accompanying the lot was a photograph stating that the figure was acquired in 1949. It is possible that this figure was sold as part of two Christie’s sales of the contents of Wentworth Woodhouse in 1948 and 1949. A similar group of the Apollino can be seen in photos of the Sculpture Room at Wentworth Woodhouse, as illustrated in Country Life in 1906.
An exhibition curated by Carlos A Picon in London in 1983 helped to bring Cavaceppi out of obscurity. Much of his work was in the making of casts and copies plus the restoring of recently excavated antiques. Only in the 19th century would collectors begin to appreciate fragments of Greek and Roman stone sculpture, with most torsos requiring a head or a funerary urn cover before they were deemed saleable.
Cavaceppi made a considerable fortune from his endeavours – restoring many pieces for the Pope and other members of the Catholic hierarchy – while selling his finished work to Grand Tourists from the Museo Cavaceppi sited between the Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza del Popolo.
Although most of Cavaceppi’s models ‘after the antique’ are unsigned, this white marble Apollino, standing 2ft 4in (72cm), is fully inscribed to the base. Save a missing index finger, it was in excellent condition with very little weathering.
Modestly estimated at £3000-5000, it attracted multiple admirers at home and overseas, finally selling to a dealer for £190,000 (plus 23% buyer’s premium).