Francesco Fanelli's equestrian bronzes were highly celebrated in seventeenth-century England, and were instrumental in establishing the vogue for baroque sculpture. King Charles I is recorded to have owned five statues by Fanelli. The present lot shows two of Fanelli's models - the Leaping Horse
and the Stallion Grazing
. The Leaping Horse
served as a model for many of Fanelli's equestrian groups, and reappears with slight variations in his Cupid on Horseback
and the Saint George and the Dragon
(of which a model was sold in these rooms, 5 December 2017, lot 68). Fanelli also produced variants of the Stallion Grazing,
which show the horse drinking from a trough. One of Fanelli's most consistent patrons, the Duke of Newcastle, purchased casts of all these models for Welbeck Abbey, where they remained until they were dispersed at auction in the 18th century.
J. Pope-Hennessy, 'Some Bronzes by Francesco Fanelli', Essays on Italian Sculpture, London, 1968, pp. 166-71; M. Leithe-Jasper and P. Wengraf, European Bronzes from the Quentin Collection, exh. cat. The Frick Collection, New York, 2004, no. 20, pp. 210-213