Lot 41
  • 41

Holme Cardwell

120,000 - 180,000 GBP
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  • Holme Cardwell
  • Diana
  • signed and dated: HOLME CARDWELL / OF MANCHESTER / Sculpt ROME 1862
  • white marble, on a grey marble base


Charles Forte, Baron Forte (1908-2007), Surrey, United Kingdom


London, International Exhibition, 1862


Overall the condition of the marble is good, with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. The marble has recently been professionally cleaned. The surface of the marble on Diana's body is highly polished and waxed consistent with a recent restoration. Since Diana's hair, feet and the drapery around the back of the marble do not appear to show the signs of having been outside, the polish on the body seems to have been worked to homogenize the surface, which may have been very dirty or uneven for some reason. There is some light mottling to the surface, in particular at Diana's back, both arms, and the proper left thigh, which may be the result of weathering. There is some veining to the marble, consistent with the material, notably to the proper left shoulder and proper left arm at the back and to the upper back. There are small naturally occurring inclusions to the marble throughout; the slightly larger inclusions have been well concealed with white fill. A few restored joints are slightly visible on the bow, and the top section has been either reattached or replaced. There is also a restoration to the proper left thumb, and another to the back of the front sandal. There are a few minor chips and abrasions, including to the knop on the quiver at the back, to the edges of the sandals and notably to the bottom edge. There is what appears to be natural staining to the marble around the bottom at the back.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Exuding an almost serenely introspective air, the present marble of monumental size shows the goddess Diana in a beautifully executed Neoclassical manner. With its long, elegant limbs, smooth planes of marble, and contrapposto pose, the sculpture is clearly inspired by some of the great sculpture of Roman antiquity, as well as Cardwell’s contemporaries working in the Neoclassical style.

Holme Cardwell, a native of Manchester, attended the Royal Academy School in London in 1834. Probably aged 19 (although there is some uncertainty over his year of birth, his gravestone registers 20 May 1813), he was recommended to the school by Sir Francis Chantrey RA. Building a considerable reputation for himself, including a silver medal for a model in 1839, he left London for Paris in 1841 to study with David d’Angers (1788-1856). He probably stayed in Paris for three years, training at the Académie Royale, before moving to Rome. In the following years of his career, he was to move between Rome and London several times, settling primarily in Rome. Active within the milieu of British expatriate artists and sculptors in Rome, he acquired many admirers, including the renowned sculptor John Gibson RA (1790-1866). Cardwell exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1837 and 1856. He had a tendency for large or monumental marble groups, including the ‘colossal’ Good Samaritan (Roscoe, op. cit., p. 194), a figure of Sabrina, a Cupid and Pan, and the present marble.

Diana was exhibited in Cardwell’s hometown of Manchester, and subsequently at the International Exhibition of 1862 with the title ‘Diana about to Bathe’. Leaning against a tree and having shed her clothes, shoes and weapons, the goddess just enters the water with the tips of her toes. In the Handbook to the Fine Art Collections, op. cit. p. 95, Cardwell’s sculpture is described thus: “Bottinelli, Cardwell, and Gatley are careful artists in this manner: the gracefully constructed forms they give are not so much the forms of real life, as the improved ideal of the later antique [...]”. Indeed, observing the idealised facial features of the present Diana, with straight nose, symmetrical face, and even, rhythmic curls, one is immediately reminded of the work of famous Neoclassical sculptors such as Bertel Thorvaldsen and Antonio Canova, who were active in Rome a generation before Cardwell, but whose influence continued.

Diana was not the only sculpture by Cardwell to be exhibited at the International Exhibition, although it was the only one listed as then in the ownership of the artist - the others had already been purchased. Indeed, the two other marbles that were exhibited, Pan and Cupid and Sabrina, now survive in public institutions: Sabrina in the Hove Museum in Sussex, whereas Pan and Cupid was donated to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1871 (Bilbey and Trusted, op. cit. p. 232). The appearance of the present marble at auction therefore provides the opportunity to acquire a lifesize marble of museum quality which embodies the essence of late Neoclassical sculpture.

Official Catalogue of the Fine Art Department, exh. cat., London International Exhibition, London, 1862, p.143; F. Turner Palgrave, Handbook to the Fine Art Collections in the International Exhibition of 1862, London, 1862, pp. 95-97; A. Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts, A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904, vol. I, London, 1905, p. 393; D. Bilbey and M. Trusted, British Sculpture 1470-2000: A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, cat. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2002, p. 232-233; I. Roscoe, E. Hardy and M. G. Sullivan, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660-1851, London, 2009, p. 194; 'Holme Cardwell', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011 [http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/person.php?id=msib2_1202169359, accessed 04 Nov 2017]