Object Details

Athleta Britannicus

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Makers
General Information
Classification
Object Parts
Object Condition
History
References
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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:Church Street / A283
Town:Petworth
Parish:Petworth
Council:Chichester District Council
County:West Sussex
Postcode:GU28
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Inside building
Access is:Public
Location note:Petworth House, The North Gallery, Central Corridor
In the AZ book:West Sussex
Page:61
Grid reference:N9
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.

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Makers

Name : John Charles Felix Rossi
     Role:Sculptor

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General Information

Commissioned by: George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837)
Construction period:1828
Installation date:1828
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:The National Trust (Petworth House)
Description:Carved from a single piece of marble, the statue depicts a muscular boxer, arms raised and prepared for a fight. He wears tight fitting shorts and sandals. The statue sits on an integral base with an inscription to the front. Carved catalogue number on base '99'.
Signatures:Signature to outer aspect of column:
C. ROSSI. R.A.
MDCCCXXVIII
Inscription:To the front of the statues integral base:

ATHLETA BRITANNICUS

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Classification

Categories:Sculptural, Free Standing
Object type1:Statue
Object type2:Sculpture
Subject type1:Figurative
     Subject subtype1:Full-length

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Object Parts

Part 1:Statue
     Material:White marble
     Height (cm):198
     Width (cm):62
     Depth (cm):96
Part 2:Plinth
     Material:Wood (faux red veined marble)
     Height (cm):107
     Width (cm):62
     Depth (cm):91

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Condition 1 of type:Surface
     Condition 1: Abrasions, cracks, splits
     More details:Gouge on integral base in between the legs.
Condition 2 of type:Structural
     Condition 1: Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
     More details:Tiny chip to left foot. Chip to integral base underneath edge, below letters ‘A’ and ‘B’ of title. Tiny chip on the inner calf.
Date of on-site inspection:27/06/2008

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History

History:The North Gallery is one of the very few top-lit sculpture and picture galleries to survive from the early nineteenth century. It was extensively restored in 1991-3. The South corridor is the earliest part of the gallery, which was built between 1754 and 1763 to house the major part of the 2nd. Earl’s collection of antiques statuary. The top-lit Central Corridor was added to the gallery by the 3rd. Earl in 1824-5. At the same time work began on the final extension to the gallery, the Square Bay and the whole was finished in October 1827. The works were supervised by Thomas Upton, the Petworth Clerk of Works, and executed by his building yard. Advice was sought from at least three artists; the painter Thomas Philips and the sculptors Sir Francis Chantrey and John Edward Carew. The galleries are presently painted a dark red, restored to this colour during the 1991-3 restorations. The galleries had been this colour in 1873. Red (with green, the most traditional colour for picture galleries) was felt by Ruskin to accentuate the contours of sculpture, and it was known to have been used in ancient Rome as a foil to sculpture. The present sculpture arrangement (devised in 1991-3) was designed to restore, as far as possible that conceived by the 3rd. Earl. It was taken from a unique ground plan of the 3rd. Earl’s statue deployment drawn up in 1835 by H.W. Philips. Apart from the Flaxman, the Square Bay has become a gallery of works by the Irish sculptor J.E. Carew, many of which were placed here in 1835
('Petworth House')

The statue may have been designed as a response to Canova's severely classical figure, 'Pugilists' (1801) in the Vatican. In 1785 Rossi won a Royal Academy travel scholarship at the same time as John Deare and had spent three years in Rome. He had undertaken several of the public monuments in St. Pauls Cathedral between 1802 and 1825.
('The Return of the Gods')

Rossi's plea for more money in 1826, whilst working on this statue, for once failed to arouse Lord Egremont's sympathy: 'Rossi, I suppose, applied in the style of a butcher', concluded Haydon with satisfaction (Rossi had been his landlord).
('Petworth House')

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References

Source 1 :
     Title:'The Return of the Gods:Neoclassical Sculpture in Britain'
     Type:Book
     Author:Trusted, Marjorie.
     Page:31
     Publisher:Tate Publishing. London.

Source 2 :
     Title:'Petworth House'
     Type:Book
     Author:Rowell, Christopher
     Publisher:The National Trust.


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Photographs





Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons

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