A GEORGE III ITALIAN EXPORT WHITE STATUARY MARBLE CHIMNEYPIECE WITH ROSSO ANTICO RELIEF PLAQUES AND MICRO MOSAIC PANELS ATTRIBUTED TO LORENZO CARDELLI AND CESARE AGUATTI (4401631)
A GEORGE III ITALIAN EXPORT WHITE STATUARY MARBLE CHIMNEYPIECE WITH ROSSO ANTICO RELIEF PLAQUES AND MICRO MOSAIC PANELS ATTRIBUTED TO LORENZO CARDELLI AND CESARE AGUATTI (4401631)
A GEORGE III ITALIAN EXPORT WHITE STATUARY MARBLE CHIMNEYPIECE WITH ROSSO ANTICO RELIEF PLAQUES AND MICRO MOSAIC PANELS ATTRIBUTED TO LORENZO CARDELLI AND CESARE AGUATTI (4401631)

A GEORGE III ITALIAN EXPORT WHITE STATUARY MARBLE CHIMNEYPIECE WITH ROSSO ANTICO RELIEF PLAQUES AND MICRO MOSAIC PANELS ATTRIBUTED TO LORENZO CARDELLI AND CESARE AGUATTI (4401631)

1790 Italy

Offered by Ronald Phillips Ltd

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A magnificent quality, highly important and rare late 18th century carved white statuary marble chimneypiece with ‘Rosso Antico’ relief plaques attributed to Lorenzo Cardelli and micro mosaic panels attributed to Cesare Aguatti. Having a breakfront shelf with moulded edge above a finely guilloche carved concave moulding above a frieze with raised central tablet mounted with an oval Rosso Antico plaque and flanked by exceptionally fine arabesque micro mosaic in bright colours on a white ground with opposing grotesque heads towards the centre, and flanked by a further two oval Rosso Antico reliefs heading the jambs, each with a panel of matching micro mosaic of trailing flowers, classical vases and arabesque scrolls, on moulded bases, the aperture surrounded by a fine stiff leaf carved moulding.

Note: The micro mosaic panels are attributed to Cesare Aguatti and relate to a group of chimneypieces, some with identical mosaic panels; the chimneypieces were inspired by group of carved marble pilasters at the Cloisters of the Convent Aracoeli near the Capitol in Rome.

The Rosso Antico frieze medallions depicting ‘The Cupid Sellers’ are attributed to Lorenzo Cardelli. Inspired by excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii, and hugely popular during the mid and late 18th century, they relate to similar oval panels by the same hand and in matching chimneypieces. The subject of the Cupid Sellers derives directly from a fresco found at the Villa D’Arianna at Stabiae, another ancient Roman town devastated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

A documented chimneypiece by Cardelli is at Penrice Castle in Wales and illustrated in ‘Country Life’ magazine. The Penrice chimneypiece shares the same combination of micro mosaic and oval panels as well as some of the carved elements. It relates to a group of chimneypieces made in Rome for the Earl Bishop of Derry by some of the best craftsmen of the time. Unfortunately the Earl Bishop’s treasures were confiscated after the French invaded Italy in 1796, and he never saw them installed, although they finally made their way to Ireland after his death. His nephew, Sir Henry Aston Bruce, was subsequently responsible for the dispersal of some of the chimneypieces. One was installed at Ickworth and another in St. James’s Square in London, while at least two remained in the family at Downhill.

Italian, circa 1790

Height: 4 ft 6 in; 137 cm
Height of opening: 3 ft 2¾ in; 98.5 cm
Width: 6 ft 10¼ in; 209 cm
Width of opening: 4 ft 2 in; 127 cm
Depth: 8 ½ in; 21 cm

Price: £100,000 +
Probably commissioned by The Earl Bishop of Derry;
Confiscated during the French occupation of Italy;
Sir Henry Aston Bruce;
Private collection, Ireland.

Charles Heathcote Tatham, ‘Grecian and Roman Architectural Ornament’, 2nd edition, 1843, plates 12 & 47-51.
Dimensions
Height 137.00 cm (53.94 inches)
Width 209.00 cm (82.28 inches)
Depth 21.00 cm (8.27 inches)
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