Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery

Furniture Mount

ca. 1760 (made)
Place of origin

This mount originally formed part of the ebony base for a figure of the Crouching Venus seated on a shell, also in the V&A Museum (Museum number 5423-1859).

Object details

Object type
Materials and techniques
Hard-paste porcelain
Brief description
Furniture mount in the shape of a putto in hard-paste porcelain, Doccia porcelain factory, Doccia, ca. 1760.
Physical description
Furniture mount in the shape of a putto in hard-paste porcelain
  • Height: 16cm
Gallery label
Furniture mount PAIR OF FURNITURE MOUNTS Porcelain ITALY (DOCCIA); about 1760 5424A&J-1859 (Label draft attributed to John V. G. Mallet, ca. 1995)(ca. 1995)
Object history
Part of a set 5424 to M-1859.
Historical context
This mount originally formed part of the ebony base for a figure of the Crouching Venus seated on a shell, also in the V&A Museum (Museum number 5423-1859).
Subjects depicted
This mount originally formed part of the ebony base for a figure of the Crouching Venus seated on a shell, also in the V&A Museum (Museum number 5423-1859).
Bibliographic references
  • Kräftner, Johann (ed.), Lichtenstein Museum Vienna: Baroque luxury porcelain: The manufactories of du Paquier in Vienna and of Carlo Ginori in Florence, Munich, Berlin, London, New York 2005, pp. 253-254
  • Frescobaldi Malenchini, Livia ed. With Balleri, Rita and Rucellai, Oliva, ‘Amici di Doccia Quaderni, Numero VII, 2013, The Victoria and Albert Museum Collection’, Edizioni Polistampa, Firenze, 2014 pp.24-27, Cat. 4 4. Four putti term figures circa 1750 hard-paste porcelain h 16 cm no mark inv. 5424 and B to D-1859 Bibliography: J.Winter, in BAROQUE LUXURY PORCELAIN 2005, p. 399 top Bibliography: J.Winter, in BAROQUE LUXURY PORCELAIN 2005, p. 398-399, cat. 253 When this sculpture was bought by the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1859 (see Reino Liefkes in this volume p. 13), it stood on a tall wooden base supported by figures and supports made of porcelain. It is described in the Register books as “seated on a shell, on an ebony stand with porcelain terminal figures at the angles and bracket ornaments on the sides”. These white porcelain mounts, four putti term figures (cat. 4) and ten scroll work uprights (cat. 5) still survive. Sadly the wooden base was removed as it was assumed to be a later addition, whereas, in all probability, it may well have been the original manufactory base. The firing damage is extensive, particularly a large crack on the back, and also the partial collapse of the central section of the body, which has resulted in apparently slightly awkward modelling of Venus’s stomach and right side. This, and the unusual slightly cream-coloured glaze, suggest that the figure was made in the early years of the manufactory’s production, around 1750. A similar glaze is found on only a few other pieces of early Doccia porcelain sculpture Such as the Venus and Cupid group at Corsham Court, near Bath (WINTER 2003, p. 23, fig. 19). It perhaps reflects attempts to improve the greyish-white colour, typical of the early production at the manufactory, which had come in for some criticism from Ginori’s contemporaries. The figure is a copy of the marble original of the Crouching Venus in the Uffizi (MANSUELLI 1958-1961, vol. I, p. 83ff), now considered to be a much-restored Roman copy of an Hellenistic original and often known as the Aphrodite of Doidalses. In the 18th century, this was referred to variously as the Venere nella Conchiglia, Venere della Conchiglia and Venerenel Bagno. The Uffizi statue, formerly in the Villa Medici in Rome (at least by 1670), was transferred to Florence between 1780 and 1788. Though other antique versions are known, it would almost certainly have been this original from which the V&A porcelain was taken, although the Uffizi marble measures 78 cm height, almost twice the size of the porcelain reproduction. In November 1746, Niccola Kindermann and Gaetano Traballesi were paid for taking the mould of a Venerina (AGL,Libro contabile 1746- 1749, 1746, fol. 202v). Andreina d’Agliano assumed this was for a smaller version of the Medici Venus (A. d’Agliano, in LE SCULTURE DEL MARCHESE GINORI 2003, p. 40, cat. 4), but quite possibly it applies to the Crouching Venus, although it should be remembered that the Uffizi figure was at that time still in Rome. The Aphrodite of Doidalseswas a favourite model for bronze statuettes and much copied from the time of Giambologna onwards (HASKELL, PENNY 1981, p. 321-323). The figure is referred to in both the Inventory of Models (AGL, Inventario dei Modelli 1791-1806 about, p. 6, n. 18, mould in four sections; p. 11, n. 11, mould in six sections).The two sets of moulds suggest that the figure could be reproduced in different sizes. A smaller example at the Museo di Doccia is a small, relatively modern biscuit replica. The V&A example appears to be the only large-size version known. On the history of the acquisition of the Crouching Venus see Reino Liefkes in this catalogue, p. 13. Other putti term figures exist: for example one at the Fitzwilliam Museum (C.3221-1928) and two at the Castello Sforzesco (LISE 1975, cat. 88; L. Melegati, in LE PORCELLANE EUROPEE AL CASTELLO SFORZESCO 1999, p. 77).The only one coloured version I know of is in the Cagnola Collection in Gazzada. The plaster cast for the Venus is still preserved at Museo di Doccia (R. Balleri, in OMAGGIO A VENERE 2010, p. 27-29). A biscuit figure of the Aphrodite of Doidalses is at the Stibbert Museum (h32 cm), with the “N” crowned mark underglazed and imprinted “Venere della Conchiglia in Firenze, M”, dated about 1870-1880 (A. d’Agliano, in PORCELLANE DI FRIEDERICK STIBBERT 2002, p. 80, cat. 31 and plate 17).
  • Two similar mounts were sold at Pandolfini case d'aste in Florence, 17 May 2017, lot 149
Accession number

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Record createdSeptember 22, 2009
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