AFTER A MODEL BY GIAMBOLOGNA (1529-1608)
ITALIAN, FLORENCE, 17TH CENTURY
bronze, on an ebonised wood base
with two labels to the back of the base inscribed: PADUA and: Gian / Bologna / ??? / Bronze Bull / High cliffe Castle / June/July 1939 / Sale (Xtie / or Sothy)
bronze: 19.5 by 27cm., 7⅝ by 10⅝in.
base: 13 by 22cm., 5⅛ by 8⅝in.
Overall the condition of the bronze is good, with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There is a small loss to the tip of the bull's proper left horn. There is an original casting plug to the centre of the bull's back, and another smaller one to the back of the proper left horn. There are some scratches to the surface in areas, including to the back of the bull's head. There is some minor dark spotting and there are a few areas of minor greening.
There is evidence of past worming to the wood base throughout. The joints of the bottom tier are slightly open, but stable.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Probably Charles Stuart, 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay (1779-1845), Highcliffe Castle, Hampshire;
Rt. Hon. Earl and Countess of Abingdon, Highcliffe Castle, Hampshire, by 1942;
their sale, Christie's London, 5 July 1949, lot 414;
Michael Inchbald (1920-2013), London;
his estate sale, Christie's London, 22 January 2014, lot 173
Inspired by classical sculptures of sacrificial bulls, Giambologna's Pacing Bull was probably conceived as a pendant to the sculptor's Pacing Horse. According to Dimitrios Zikos, it is likely that the model is the same as the bronze Bull recorded on 14th March 1588 as being in the Galleria del Casino di San Marco (Paolozzi Strozzi and Zikos, op. cit. p. 242, no. 45). The attribution to Giambologna is confirmed through comparison with the Bull in his Lion attacking a Bull and by the explicit mention in the 1609 posthumous inventory of the collector Benedetto Gondi to 'a wax bull by the hand of the said (Giambologna)' (Avery, op. cit. p. 56).
The present bull is an example of one of two known versions of Giambologna's bull, the other version being of heavier build. The slighter model of the bull is often seen as a reworking by Antonio Susini (Avery, op. cit., cat nos. 143-144). The present cast shows some fine detailing in its execution, including to the edges of the ears, the hair on the head, and the well combed and divided strands of hair on the tip the bull's tail.
Formerly in the collection of the Earl of Abingdon at Highcliffe Castle, the bull is visible in an image taken of the library, published by Country Life in 1942 ('Highcliffe Castle, Hampshire, The Home of the Hon. Mrs. Stuart-Wortley).
C. Avery, Giambologna: The Complete Sculpture, London, 1993, pp. 56-9; A. Radcliffe and C. Avery (eds.), Giambologna 1529-1608: Sculptor to the Medici, exh. cat. Arts Council of Great Britain, London and Edinburgh, 1978, p. 192, no. 177; B. Paolozzi Strozzi and D. Zikos (eds.), Giambologna gli dei, gli eroi, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, 2006, p. 242, no. 45