The Tadolini family occupies a fascinating position in the history of Roman sculpture. Four generations of the family of stone carvers lived and worked in the same studio for some 150 years. The building still exists today, on the corner of the Via del Babuino over looked by the Greek Church of S. Anastasia; it is now the Canova-Tadolini Museum. The head of the family, Adamo Tadolini, was an assistant in Antonio Canova's studio and was responsible for producing the working models for many of Canova's most important works. Adamo came to be recognised as Canova's most skilled studio assistant and Canova himself helped him establish his own studio at the Via del Babuino.
Scipione Tadolini, Adamo's eldest son, was trained in his father's studio. Moving away from a strict classicism, Scipione imbues classical subject matter with the Romantic spirit. The Eve, conceived circa 1866 at a time when Scipione was approaching the height of his career, ranks, together with the Schiava Greca, as being one of the sculptor's most celebrated and successful models. Scipione presents Eve after the fall, her hand raised to her cheek, in contemplation of her sin, and her nudity partly obscured by leaves. Eve is a re-imagining of the classical nude, evoking the Hellenistic model of the Crouching Venus, though lending to it a Biblical subject and an air of romanticism. The decision to represent Eve reclining was, however, very innovative, and a departure from the usual format of presenting her upright. Scipione's debt to the classicism of his father and to Canova is evident in the sensual modelling of Eve's form. A plaster model of Tadolini's Eve is housed in the Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome (inv. no. AM-2556), whilst marble versions of the Eve can be found in Botanical Gardens, Glasgow (formerly in the collection of James White), and in the Villa Cimbrone, Ravello.
The present marble is a particularly fine autograph version in excellent condition. The carving of the leaves and waterfall is superb, and characteristic of Tadolini's finest work. Eynsham Park, where the marble was located for much of its history, is a Jacobean country house in Oxfordshire. It was built for James Mason, a wealthy engineer, by Sir Ernest George RA, whose pupils included Sir Edwin Lutyens.
T. F. Hufschmidt, Tadolini: Adamo, Scipione, Giulio, Enrico: Quattro generazioni di scultori a Roma nei secoli XIX e XX, Rome, 1996, pp. 202-206; A. Panzetta, Nuovo dizionario degli scultori Italiani dell'ottocento e del primo novecento da Antonio Canova ad Arturo Martini, Turin, 2003, pp. 900-901