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Relief - Bacchanalian infants playing with a Satyr
  • Bacchanalian infants playing with a Satyr
    Du Quesnoy, François
  • Enlarge image

Bacchanalian infants playing with a Satyr

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (South, made)

  • Date:

    1650-1670 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Du Quesnoy, François (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory carved in relief

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case DR7

The monochrome colouring of material meant that these ivories could ape in miniature the ancient marbles much valued by connoisseurs and collectors of the time. This ivory is made after François du Quesnoy who was a Netherlandish sculptor, who spent most of working life in Rome and assimilated the classical style. His tender and sensuous reliefs of cupids, satyrs and small children were highly influential. See also inv.nos. 1059 to 1063-1853 for further reliefs in this group. It may have been made soon after his death in the second half of the seventeenth century Boudon-Machuel calls them pasticci, pastiches derived from in part from other compositions which Du Quesnoy executed on a larger scale in marble. Variants are also known in bronze, enamel and porcelain. The nicks on the back of the present reliefs, show that they were differentiated, and must have been made to indicate how they should be displayed at one time. The reliefs vary slightly in size from one another, but fundamentally they form a set, and must have been shown as a group together.

Physical description

Relief carved in ivory depicting a group of six putti surrounding a satyr and a goat, one blowing a horn, another playing a drum. Trees and a distant cityscape are visible. Two pairs of holes are drilled into the top for fixing purposes, now filled in. Six small nicks are to be seen at the centre of the reverse of the relief.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (South, made)


1650-1670 (made)


Du Quesnoy, François (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Ivory carved in relief


Height: 11 cm, Width: 15.8 cm

Object history note

Bought for £26 5s. in 1853 (vendor unrecorded). Perhaps purchased from Benjamin Lewis Vuillamy (1780-1854), clockmaker to the Queen. Possibly formerly in the collection of the Earl of Bessborough, sale Christie's, London, 7 February 1801, lot 30 (sold for £141 15s.):'six beautiful Groups of Boys, exquisitely carved in ivory, from nature, by Fiamingo; truly chef d'oevres of this celebrated artist; from the collections of the great Duke of Buckingham.

Descriptive line

Relief, ivory, carved in high relief, Bacchanalian scene, after François Du Quesnoy, South Netherlands, ca. 1650-1670

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

Penny, Nicholas. Catalogue of European sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum : 1540 to the present day. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1992, vol. 1 Italian sculpture, p. 33
Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1853. In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 41
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 101
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. Part II. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1929, p. 73
Avery, Charles, ed. Massimiliano Soldani: Sculptor to the Medici. Drawings., exh. cat., 2017, pp. 122-123, fig. 54.1.




Carving; Relief

Subjects depicted

Satyr; Musical instruments; Putti; Horn; Cityscape; Drum; Trees; Goat


Sculpture; Reliefs; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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