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Summers Place Auctions are the world's leading auctioneers of Sculpture and Design for the House and Garden.

Archive Catalogue:

Past catalogues are available to purchase from the Gallery.  Please e-mail for details.

Archived Catalogue from:

20th and 23rd May 2013

This is Lot Number 6

A pair of rare Austin and Seeley composition stone Warwick urns

Estimated Price:
£5,000 - £8,000

Hammer Price:

mid 19th century
on associated composition stone pedestals
144cm.; 57ins high by 136cm.; 54ins wide including handles

The marble original of this vase was discovered in 1771 and was sold after restoration to the Earl of Warwick, who for a long time forbade casts to be made of it. It is perhaps the most famous antique vase after the Medici and Borghese urns and by repute, it headed a list of art treasures compiled by Napoleon Bonaparte, to be appropriated after the conquest of Great Britain.

Felix Austin went into business in 1828 having bought moulds from a firm that had gone out of business. He established works in New Road, London, describing himself variously as an architect, statuary mason and sculptor as well as artificial stone maker. Around 1840 he entered into partnership with John Seeley who had trained at the Royal Academy Schools and also made an artificial stone which he called artificial limestone, before entering into partnership with Austin. In 1841 they published their first catalogue, Pleasure Grounds etc. from their address in New Road. The preface begins |Austin~s Artificial Stone is of a light tint, requires no painting or colouring, will not sustain injury from the severest winter, and, being impervious to wet, is particularly applicable to all kinds of water works. Its superiority is now so thoroughly established, that the most eminent architects and scientific gentlemen have expressed, in their highest terms, their approbation of its durablilty, and close resemblance to the real stone|.

A similar urn is illustrated in the Austin and Seeley~s 1841 specimen book of Artificial Stone Manufactory No 38

This is Lot Number 6

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