AFTER ALESSANDRO ALGARDI (ITALIAN, 1595/1598-1654): A PAIR OF BRONZE FIGURES OF PUTTI, PROBABLY FRENCH LATE 18TH CENTURY
the first boy blowing a double conch shell, the second boy kneeling and holding aloft a shell, both on a rocky, naturalistic ground over square bases, heavy casts with dark brown patination and lighter high points, raised on separately cast gilt bronze plinths with C scroll and acanthus decoration,
the bronzes 26.4cm high, 32cm high including ormolu base (2)
This rare pair of bronze figures are of identical size and design to a pair which were acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford by 1865 and are now in the Wallace Collection. The Wallace Collection state that the design for these figures seem to have originated in Rome, in the circle of sculptors such as Alessandro Algardi (1595–1654) and François Duquesnoy (1597–1643), but that their casts were almost certainly made in the mid 18th century in France. Jennifer Montagu more firmly attributes the design to Algardi based on the similarity to the Putto on a hippocamp now in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore.
A further pair that were almost identical to those in the Wallace Collection, and also raised on the same Neo-Classical style gilt bronze bases were sold at Christie’s, London, 7 July 2005, lot 531, £60,000 and catalogued as circa 1780 based on the design of the ormolu plinths.
Wallace Collection, S202 and S203 for a near identical pair, on different gilt bronze plinths.
Louvre, Paris for a bronze of the putto with double conch shell (inv. OA, 10289).
Christie’s, London, 7 July 2005, lot 531, a pair of the same design as the present, 26cm high, £60,000.
Christie’s, New York, 28 January 2015, the Abbott Guggenheim Collection: A New York Kunstkammer, lot 105; a pair of putti comprising the boy with double conch shell with slightly different base and a different model of a boy holding a lyre wreath, catalogued as Roman mid 17th century, sold $25,000.
J. Montagu, Alessandro Algardi, London, 1985, vol. II, p. 394-396, nos. L.104, L.104 I.B.I, 104 C.I, 104 D.I and 105 D.I.
R. Wenley, French Bronzes in the Wallace Collection, London, 2002, pp. 84-85.