Marble seasons statue

A statue representing summer, one of a set of four late 17th or early 18th century marble seasons – £230,000 at Summers Place Auctions.

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The French statues came for sale from La Granja Vella de Mati Codolar, a country house in Barcelona that is now a religious retreat.

Marble seasons statue in Barcelona

The statues in the grounds of La Granja Vella de Mati Codolar in Barcelona.

Unlike later copies from the 19th and 20th century, full sets of figures from this period are rare on the market. The inspiration for this set almost certainly comes from those created for the gardens of Versailles in the second half of the 17th century.


The figures were based on engravings by Simon Thomassin published in 1694.

The figures of Spring and Winter bear similarities to statues created by the court sculptor Jean Thierry (1669- 1739), engravings of which were produced by Simon Thomassin (1655-1733) and published in 1694 as Recueil des Figures, Groupes, Thermes, Fontaines, Vases Et Autres Ornemons dansle Chateau et Parc de Versailles. As was often the case when a sculptor worked from an engraving of the original, the image of Flora is reversed.

The four figures assume the standard vocabulary of the period. Spring is depicted as a young woman holding flowers, Summer as a semi-clad female figure with a sickle and ears of corn, Autumn as Bacchus holding grapes and vine leaves and Winter as an old man thickly clad against the cold.

As they vary in height from 5ft 10in (1.78m) to 6ft 2in (1.9m), have different shaped bases and unfinished backs, it appears they were commissioned for a specific location, possibly in niches where the backs would not be seen. They now come with later sandstone pedestals.

Marble seasons statue

A statue representing autumn, one of a set of four late 17th or early 18th century marble seasons – £230,000 at Summers Place Auctions.

James Rylands, director at Summers Place, said the group, which had been estimated at £180,000, sold to a North American private collector after interest from the Far East and Europe.

“The price is a reflection of the rarity of these wonderful Four Seasons and an opportunity to acquire one of the very few sets of life-size marble seasons to have come on the market for a considerable time,” Rylands added.