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Relief - Orpheus playing to the animals
  • Orpheus playing to the animals
    Fanelli, Francesco
  • Enlarge image

Orpheus playing to the animals

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    second quarter of the seventeenth century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fanelli, Francesco (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with funds from the John Webb Trust and the bequest of Captain H B Murray.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 117, case 1 []

This relief has been identified as the work of Francesco Fanelli, a Florentine who worked for a time in London as a sculptor to King Charles I. The relief appears to have been designed for mounting on the central door of a cabinet. Another version of this relief is mounted on the inside of the door of the Florentine mid- 17th century cabinet which was made for the diarist John Evelyn, which is also in the museum collections.

Physical description

Relief, bronze. The relief shows Orpheus playing a lyre and singing, standing before trees and surrounded by birds and animals

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


second quarter of the seventeenth century (made)


Fanelli, Francesco (maker)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 22.2 cm, Width: 12.4 cm

Object history note

Purchased with funds from the Webb and Murray bequests.

Historical context note

This relief was possibly in the collection of Charles Jenners, Ormond St (cf. Dodsley 1761).

Francesco Fanelli, although described as Florentine, is first documented as working in Genoa in 1609/10 and again in 1620 and 1627. He came to England shortly afterwards, possibly in 1631and was working for Charles I by 1635. In 1640 he described himself as 'Sculptor to the King of Great Britain', presumably an officially conferred title.

Descriptive line

Relief, bronze, Orpheus, animals, Anglo-Florentine, about 1635-40.

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

Radcliffe, A and Thornton, Peter. 'John Evelyn's Cabinet', Connoisseur, CXCVII, April 1978.
Dodsley, J and R. London and its environs described, London, 1761, p. 96.
Pope-Hennessy, John. 'Some Bronze Statuettes by Francesco Fanelli', in The Burlington Magazine, XCV, May 1953 reprinted in Essays on Italian Sculpture, London, 1968, p. 166-171.




Sculpture Collection

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