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Statuette - St George and the Dragon

St George and the Dragon

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1640 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fanelli, Francesco (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast bronze

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:

    A.5-1953

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 10

Object Type
In the late 16th century, the Florentine sculptor Giovanni Bologna (1529-1608, active in Florence) and his followers were responsible for a significant output of sophisticated and high quality statuettes. These became dispersed throughout Europe and Charles I inherited a group from his elder brother, Henry, who died in 1612. They doubtless influenced both the King's taste and the imaginative production of Francesco Fanelli.

Materials & Making
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, though its exact content can vary. Fanelli's 'bronzes' actually appear to be brass, which is a copper-zinc alloy, with a dark lacquer applied to the surface.

Ownership & Use
Similar bronzes of equestrian subjects were produced by Fanelli for John Holles, the Earl (and later Duke) of Newcastle, governor of the future Charles II. A version of this bronze and a 'Cupid on Horseback' were listed in an inventory of the King's collection at Whitehall Palace in 1639. Both were sold from the royal collection in 1649, after Charles I's execution, but were traced by an agent of Charles II following the restoration of the monarchy. They are now at Windsor Castle.

Physical description

This group represents St George on horseback in armour, holding a lance with both hands, being in the process of pushing the lance into the open mouth of the dragon. Both the horse's front legs as well as the dragon's front legs are lifted from the ground.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1640 (made)

Artist/maker

Fanelli, Francesco (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cast bronze

Dimensions

Height: 19.1 cm, Width: 9.6 cm base, Depth: 24.8 cm, Depth: 15.6 cm base

Object history note

Made in London by Francesco Fanelli (born in Florence, Italy, 1577, last documented in London, 1641).
Given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A., 1953.

Historical significance: A version of this model was in the 1640s to be found, along with the Birdcatcher and Cupid on horseback shown here, in the Cabinet Room at Whitehall Palace. Similar bronzes of equestrian subjects were produced by Fanelli for the Earl (later Duke) of Newcastle, Governor of the future Charles II.

Descriptive line

Statuette, bronze, of St George and the Dragon, by Francesco Fanelli, London, ca. 1640

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

Binnebeke, Emile von. Bronze Sculpture: Sculpture from 1500-1800 in the Collection of the Boymans-van-Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, 1994, pp. 132, 3, cat. no. 38
Howarth, D. 'Charles I, Sculpture and Sculptor's'. In: A. MacGregor (ed.), The Late King's Goods, Oxford University Press, London & Oxford, no. 3, p. 93, fig 43
Pratesi, G, ed. Repertorio della Scultura Fiorentina del seicento e settecento, Umberto Allemandi, 1993, Vol II, pp. 135

Labels and date

British Galleries:
THREE BRONZES BY FANELLI

Records show that small bronzes like these stood on the windowsills of important rooms in Whitehall Palace. Charles I admired Italian statuettes, having inherited an important group from his elder brother, Prince Henry (1594-1612). He went on to buy the famous Gonzaga collection of antique sculpture for £10,000. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Bronze

Subjects depicted

Dragons

Categories

Sculpture; Christianity

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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