Lot 68
  • 68

Prosper d' Epinay

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Prosper d' Epinay
  • Les Trois Heures de la Vie (The Three Hours of Life)
  • signed: P. D'EPINAY. ROME
  • white marble
  • 107 by 84cm., 42 1/8  by 33 1/8 in.

Catalogue Note

The Mauritian sculptor Prosper d'Epinay began his sculptural studies unconventionally, under the tutelage of the caricaturist Jean-Pierre Dantan in Paris. He moved to Rome in 1861 to join the studio of Luigi Amici. His work was very popular in England where he exhibited at the Royal Academy for many years, and his aristocratic following included Queen Victoria. 

Based on a full-scale chimneypiece, measuring 217 centimeters high, the present group of Les Trois Heures de la Vie is a supremely elegant allegory for the three hours of the day, which serve as allegories for the three stages of life: youth, maturity, and old age. While Morning and Dusk are represented as languid, reclining nudes, the dynamic Midday stands holding a lit torch, her dress billowing. Most known versions of the Trois Heures were created around the year 1882, and usually mounted as a clock. The present group, however, shows a roundel with the face of Mercury, or Hermes, where a clock is usually placed. The face of Mercury in the present context is highly appropriate, as he was not only the messenger of the Gods, but was also thought to be responsible for conducting souls to the underworld. With its exquisite drapery and beautiful details, the present group is representative of Prosper d'Epinay's oeuvre. 

P. Roux-Foujols, Prosper d'Épinay: Un sculpteur mauricien à la cour des princes, Ile Maurice, 1996, pp. 98-9