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

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Live Auction, Tuesday 19 Sept 17, 1.00pm
Sealed Bid Auction, Wednesday 20 Sept 17

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Live Auction (lots 1 to 134)

Tuesday 19th September 2017, 1.00pm

 

This is Lot Number 4

Statuary: Pasquale Romanelli: A carved white marble figure of Rebecca at the well

Estimated Price:
£3,000 - £5,000

Hammer Price:
£3,000

circa 1870
signed P. Romanelli, Florence
105cm high

Pasquale Romanelli 1812-1887 was a pupil of Luigi Pampaloni and Lorenzo Bartolini in Florence. He took over Bartolini's studio after he died. He became a very prominent sculptor creating many public monuments in Italy and exhibited his work in both Paris and London. He was well known for his sensuous sculptures of allegorical, biblical and mythological figures of women. His son, Raffaello Romanelli and grandson, Romano Romanelli were also renowned Italian sculptors.

Provenance: Sotheby's Sussex Garden Statuary and Architectural Items, 25th September 1990, lot 337. Now being sold by a direct descendant of the sculptor.

Pasquale Romanelli was born in Florence on May 28, 1812. As was still often the custom then, he entered an apprenticeship in a studio producing sculptures in alabaster, studying in his free time and reading every book he could procure. Alabaster, Or Castellina marble, being much softer to carve than other marbles, makes a very good material with which to begin. Pasquale made such progress that soon he joined the apprentices in the studio of Luigi Pampolini, who trained him in the skills of working statuary marble. He was rapidly promoted to assisting the master in the carving of the statues of 'Arnolfo di Cambio' and of 'Filippo Brunelleschi', now placed in the Cathedral Square in Florence.

Pasquales' skill was such that the already then famous Lorenzo Bartolini, professor of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Art, invited him to enter his studio in Borgo San Frediano, and to attend his courses at the Academy too. He became Bartolinis' most gifted pupil, and certain commissions were passed to him to do. Pasquale worked on the statue of Francesco Ferruci, placed then in a niche of the Loggiato of the Uffizi Gallery. He soon opened a studio of his own.

In 1840 Pasquale exhibited his work entitled 'The son of William Tell'. The sculpture alluded to the desire of the people for independence. It met with such success that it was subsequently given a prize at the New York Exhibition of 1854 and also at the 1861 first Great Italian Exhibition, which followed the Unification of Italy in 1860. The statue was bought by King Vittorio Emanuele II.

Alongside his love of art, Pasquale Romanelli had a passionate love for his country. He became a member of the revolutionary groups that urged the war of independence from the Austrians. He had enrolled in the volunteers to fight following their defeat in 1848 and 1849 he was forced, with the rest of them, to go into hiding in the wild country of Maremma.

It was not until calm reigned again in 1850 that he had been able to return to Florence to continue with his sculpture. In the same year Lorenzo Bartolini died. Pasquale acquired the studio in Borgo San Frediano, and it was to him that was entrusted the task of completing the several great monuments that were unfinished at the time of Bartolinis' death. These included the immense monument to Prince Nicola Demidoff, a complex work with many figures besides that of the Prince. Pasquale went on to create works of this own such as ' The Genius of Italy', 'Italy Deluded', exhibited at the Exhibition in Paris, but for the moment too politically sensitive in 1859, and thus before unification, for exhibiting in Italy. Infact 'The Genuis of Italy' arrived in Paris with its legs broken. It had been vandalized by Pasquales' enemies and Pasquale subsequently refused to sell it at any price so it has remained in the possession of his heirs to this day.

After Unification, Florence became the capital of the new Italy for a few years, and commissions flowed. Pasquale received numerous commissions from America and form England. He opened a Gallery on the Lungarno Acciaioli where completed works could be sold direct to the public, including all those travelling on the Grand Tour.

Pasquale won various prizes. In 1863 he made the monument to Fossombroni at Arezzo, in 1864 the monument to Count Alessandro Masi for the Certosa of Ferrara. In 1868 he too, was appointed Professor of Sculpture of the Academy of Fine Art of Florence.

Amongst his works were 'The boy Washington', bought by Principe Amadeo, portraits of Vittorio Emanuele II, of Prince Albert consort of Queen Victoria. He also made a portrait of Bartolini as part of the monument erected on Bartolinis' tomb in the church of Santa Croce. Pasquale died in 1887.

This is Lot Number 4

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