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  • Place of origin:

    Italy (Made)

  • Date:

    1713-1717 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Talman, John, born 1677 - died 1726 (Artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    ink and pencil on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 92, shelf D, box 60B

The drawing was part of the collection assembled by John Talman (1677-1726). Talman was the son of the celebrated architect William Talman. From about 1698 he was employed by his father to help assemble material for his extensive collection of architectural drawings, prints and books. A keen traveller, he went to the Continent twice in search of acquisitions. He visited the northern Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy, and he made numerous watercolour copies of altarpieces and churches in Rome.

Talman was back in England in 1715. He was a founder-member of the Tavern Society, London, which later became the Society of Antiquaries, and he was appointed its first director. Like his father, Talman believed in the elevating purpose of art and in the use of art collections for the public good. Although his will indicates that he had wanted his vast collection (which contained over 32,000 prints and drawings), to go to Trinity College, Cambridge, he later changed his mind and instructed that it should be sold for the benefit of his children. A portion of the collection was nonetheless given outright to the Society of Antiquaries, who acquired further items from the auction in London on 19 April 1727.

Physical description

Sketch of snakes used as plinth for the statue of Hercules of Villa Mantua in Padua.

Place of Origin

Italy (Made)


1713-1717 (Made)


Talman, John, born 1677 - died 1726 (Artist)

Materials and Techniques

ink and pencil on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Al predallo del / Ercole di Mantoa n.o B/ Padoa'
At the basis of Hercules of Mantua.Padua
The inscription refers to the Villa Mantua Benavides built at the end of 16th century by the heir of the Spanish family: Marco Mantua Benavides (1489- 1582).


Height: 110 mm approx., Length: 166 mm approx.

Historical context note

Villa Mantua Benavides was built at the end of the16th century by Marco Mantua Benavides (1489- 1582).

The drawing was probably realised by John Talman during one of his five documented trips to Padua between 1713 and 1716.

Descriptive line

Drawing from an album by John Talman (1677-1726) and other artists. Antiquities and architectural details, volume II.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

See Universita' di Pisa project: "John Talman an early Eighteen Century collector of drawings"


Ink; Pencil

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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