English neoclassical school circa 1800 after... - Lot 70 - Hôtel des Ventes de Bergerac Boissinot & Tailliez

Lot 70
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English neoclassical school circa 1800 after... - Lot 70 - Hôtel des Ventes de Bergerac Boissinot & Tailliez
English neoclassical school circa 1800 after the antique Head of a companion of Ulysses White marble H. 66 cm Reference work : -Head of a companion of Ulysses (Fragment), first half 2nd century AD, marble, H. 74 cm, Hadrian's Villa, Townley Collection, London, The British Museum, inv. 1805, 0703.86. Related work : -Head of a companion of Ulysses, Hadrian period, white marble, H. 70.5 cm, Vatican City, Vatican Museums, inv. 695. Related literature -Marin Quigna, Gavin Hamilton: The Great Harvest: de la fouille à une antiquité rêvée : un antiquaire écossais dans la Rome de la seconde moitié du XVIIIème siècle, mémoire de recherche sous la direction de Corinne Jouys Barbelin, Paris, École du Louvre, September 2016 ; -Brendan Cassidy, The life and letters of Gavin Hamilton (1723-1798): artist and art dealer in eighteenth-century Rome, London, Harvey Miller Publishers, 2011 ; -Guillaume Faroult, L'Antiquité rêvée : innovations et résistance au XVIIIème siècle, cat. exp., Paris, Musée du Louvre, December 2, 2010-February 14, 2011, Paris, Louvre Editions, 2010, pp. 68-69; -Viccy Coltman, Classical sculpture and the culture of collecting in Britain since 1760, New York, Oxford University Press, 2009; -Henri Lavagne, "Deux antiquaires à la villa d'Hadrien", in Bulletin de la Société nationale des Antiquaires de France, 2004, pp. 72-76; -Jacques Charles-Gaffiot, Henri Lavagne, Hadrien : trésors d'une villa impériale, cat. exp. Paris, Mairie du Vème arrondissement, September 22-December 19 1999, pp. 95-97, related work listed under no. 74, p. 231; -Brian Francis Cook, The Townley marbles, London, British Museum publications1, 985, model listed under no. 47, pp 16-18. The ancient work that served as the model for this Head of a Companion of Ulysses was found between 1769 and 1771 during archaeological excavations directed by the Scottish painter and antiquarian Gavin Hamilton (1723-1798), at Pantanello, a site located in the grounds of Hadrian's villa at Tivoli, near Rome. In the 18th century, encouraged by the rediscovery of classical antiquity and the development of collecting alongside the Grand Tour, excavations multiplied in Italy. From 1730 to 1776, Count Fede probed the grounds of Hadrian's Villa. The marshy land on the Villa estate belonged to Luigi Lolli, mayor of Tivoli, who had discovered sculptures around the pond. In 1769, Gavin Hamilton and Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), a draughtsman and engraver, joined forces, acquired the Pantanello land and decided to share the discoveries. The draining of the marsh proved to be a laborious and fruitful undertaking. In accordance with the agreement with Piranesi, Gavin Hamilton recovered the most important works, which he quickly sold to European collectors, including the Englishman Charles Townley (1737-1805). Even before their meeting in 1772, Gavin Hamilton and Charles Townley maintained a regular correspondence, in which the antiquarian reported to the antique enthusiast on his research and the condition of his finds. Later, in a letter to the collector dated May 18, 1779, Gavin Hamilton summarized his research at Pantanello and explained that the busts and portraits found buried in the mud were the best preserved. In the same letter, he lists the main discoveries made during the excavations and their location; in particular, he recalls a Greek hero's head now in the possession of the addressee, Charles Townley. First exchanged with Thomas Jenkins, collector and art dealer, this antique head was subsequently acquired by Charles Townley on February 18, 1772 for £200. Charles Townley made several trips to Italy. On his return to London in 1774, he rigorously studied the works he had brought back from his Grand Tour or purchased later from English antiquarians in Rome. He proposed several hypotheses to identify this ancient head: a titan's head, a Homeric hero or a portrait of Diomedes. In 1957, the discovery in the Tiberius grotto in Sperlonga of a later but more complete group depicting the blinding of the Cyclops Polyphemus confirmed that it was indeed the head of a hero from Homer's Odyssey, and more precisely a companion of Ulysses. Following the example of 18th-century English collectors, Charles Townley wrote several catalogs of his acquisitions, including a title, the name of the antique dealer, the price of the work and an academic description based on his exchanges with other collectors and on old sources. An oil on canvas by Johann Zoffany illustrating Charles Townley and his friends
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