• Antique Victorian
  • Code 16079

19th C Grand Tour Serpentine Sculpture Hercules and Nessus after Giambologna 63 cm

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An exquisitely carved museum quality Victorian Grand Tour serpentine group sculpture after Jean de Bologne (1529-1608) of Hercules (Heracles) slaying Nessus the Centaur. This important serpentine group is based on the Statue of Hercules and the Centaur Nessus completed in 1599 by Giambologna and now located in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy. This reduced size version was made in Italy in the late 19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria most probably as a Grand Tour memento.

The level of detail on this sculpture is very impressive, extremely faithful to the original, the notable elements are the faces and bodies of both figures, the skin of the Nemean lion, which was the first of Hercules "Twelve Labours"  lies across the back of the centaur.

The verde Prato serpentine has been quarried for centuries near to Prato, northwest of Florence in Italy. The Serpentine stone is so named due to the resemblance to the skin of a serpent. This beautiful piece is made in two parts, as the figure group fits onto a separate solid socle, plinth or base.

In very good antique condition, it has some damage, the right arm and head of Hercules have had an old break and repair and a replacement wooden end to his club. The base too has some minor marks and an 8 mm chip to the back left corner. The images show this damage, although it is quite common to find fractures on a piece of this size, age and of this medium. It is relatively unusual for the figure group to still have the base or plinth.

This is a great item for display and is highly decorative, attractive and is a reasonably unusual example of antique decorative sculpture or Victorian Grand Tour statuary.

Overall Height 25 inches ( 63 cm)
Length 11 inches ( 28 cm)
Depth 11 inches ( 28 cm)
Base Height 7 1/2 inches ( 19.0 cm)
Base Length 11 inches ( 23.2 cm)
Base Depth 7 9/16 inches ( 19.2 cm)
Weight base 15.06 Kg unpacked
Weight figure 11.05 Kg unpacked

Free UK postage, international postage at cost.


Victoria and Albert Museum item number A.2-1910 collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O350042/hercules-and-nessus-group-giambologna/

For an image of the original see: tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com/2015/09/Giambologna-Sculpture.html

For similar lots see:

Wooley and Wallis Furniture, Works of Art and Clocks - 09 Jan 2019 lot 420 - £3900 including premium.

and Bukowskis Stockholm auction sale Klassiska 586 lot 1326  June 2nd 2015 40000 SEK - £3500

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