Object Details

Adonis and the Boar

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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, Square Bay
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


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General Information

Commissioned by: George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837)
Construction period:1823-25/26
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:The National Trust (Petworth House)
Description:A naked Adonis with drapery covering the genital area. His right hand is raised holding a broken staff. The other part of the broken staff is lodged in a boar held by the muzzle by Adonis' left hand.
Iconographical description:Adonis: At the beginning of his appearance in Greek myth, there is some confusion as to his parentage and his birth. Hesiod considers this Greek hero to be the son of Phoenix and Aephesiboea, while Apollodorus calls him the son of Cinyras and Metharme. The generally accepted version is that Aphrodite compelled Myrrha (or Smyrna) to commit incest with Theias, her father, the king of Assyria. Her nurse helped her with this trickery to become pregnant, and when Theias discovered this he chased her with a knife. To avoid his wrath the gods turned her into a myrrh tree. The tree later burst open, allowing Adonis to emerge. Another version says that after she slept with her father she hid in a forest where Aphrodite changed her into a tree. Theias struck the tree with an arrow, causing the tree to open and Adonis to be born. Yet another version says a wild boar opened the tree with its tusks and freed the child; this is considered to be a foreshadowing of his death. Once the child was born Aphrodite (or Venus) was so moved by his beauty that she sheltered him and entrusted him to Persephone. She was also taken by his beauty and refused to give him back. The dispute between the two goddesses, in one version, was settled by Zeus; in others it was settled by Calliope on Zeus' behalf. The decision was that Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. He always chose to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite. This went on till his death, when he was fatally wounded by a wild boar.
Signatures:Signature on base underneath left hind leg of the boar:
J.E. CAREW
1825

Carved catalogue number on base '100'.

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Classification

Categories:Free Standing, Sculptural, Animal
Object type1:Statue
Object type2:Sculpture
Subject type1:Mythological
     Subject subtype1:Standing
Subject type2:Figurative
     Subject subtype1:Group

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Object Parts

Part 1:Statue
     Material:White marble
     Height (cm):220
     Width (cm):70
     Depth (cm):120
Part 2:Plinth
     Material:Wood (faux red veined marble)
     Height (cm):97
     Width (cm):65
     Depth (cm):125

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
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

Carew remembered this as the ‘first commission Lord Egremont gave me’. It was a companion piece to the Arethusa which the 3rd. Earl bought in 1823. The Adonis is in fact on a larger scale and was valued by Carew at £1500.

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References

Source 1 :
     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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