Object Details

The Dream of Horace

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General Information
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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 :Sir Richard Westmacott
     Role:Sculptor

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General Information

Commissioned by: George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837)
Construction period:1823
Installation date:1823
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:The National Trust (Petworth House)
Description:Complex white marble sculptural relief set in a heavy, deep, wood and gilt frame. The three figures of a semi-naked Venus, helmeted Minerva and Apollo, with a lute, arch over the reclining and sleeping figure of a naked young boy. The boy is surrounded by a bear, doves and serpents.
Iconographical description:Taken from Horace’s Ode to Calliope (the Muse of Epic Poetry), Odes iii, 4, it depicts a sleeping boy protected by Venus, Minerva and Apollo against wild animals. Thus protected, writes the poet, he need not fear the distant barbarians, even ‘the cruel race of Britain’. The face of Venus (far left) was taken from ‘the mistress of some man about in society’, perhaps the 3rd Earl.
Signatures:Carved catalogue number on base '111'

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Classification

Categories:Sculptural, Animal
Object type1:Sculpture
Object type2:Relief
Subject type1:Figurative
     Subject subtype1:Group
Subject type2:Mythological
     Subject subtype1:Reclining

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Object Parts

Part 1:Frame
     Material:Wood and gilt
     Height (cm):160
     Width (cm):210
     Depth (cm):30
Part 2:Relief
     Material:White marble
     Height (cm):138
     Width (cm):185
     Depth (cm):20

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Condition 1 of type:Structural
     Condition 1: Broken or missing parts
     More details:Right thumb missing on relief of Minerva.
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.

Exhibited at the Academy in 1823, just after completion, and subsequently installed in its present position within a blocked-up window. The subject of Westmacott’s relief is unusual, and was chosen by the 3rd Earl of Egremont. The piece was inspired by Horace's 'Ode to Calliope'. Westmacott personally installed it in the wall at the west end of the North Gallery. Nicknamed 'Westmacotteles' by Egremont because of his addiction to all things Greek, he was a regular visitor to Petworth in the 1820s, and probably advised his host on matters of display, given his reponsibility for the presentation of sculpture at the British Museum.

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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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