The Fine Sale | 22 November 2017

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Lot no.


After Luca della Robia, , the Cantoria, a painted plaster figural relief panel


Est: £1000–1500

After Luca della Robia, (Florentine 1399/1400 ~ 1482), the Cantoria, a painted plaster figural relief panel, late 19th century, portraying seven choir boys in song, all draped in the classical manner, the foremost sculpted almost in the round, 102cm high, 65cm wide
Set within a contemporary carved mahogany and parcel gilt composition frame, with egg-and-dart and gadrooned mouldings, beneath a dentil worked and ogee moulded entablature, the overall dimensions 138cm high, 103cm wide

Provenance: Previously at the Old Hall, Melton Mowbray

Della Robia's output was noted for its charm more than for its sense of drama (which was more obvious in the work of some of his contemporaries). This is clearly apparent in the faces and figures of this, his first major commission, the gallery for liturgical singers in Florence's Duomo -the Cantoria (1431 ~ 1438)
Della Robbia was praised by his compatriot Leon Battista Alberti for genius comparable to that of the sculptors Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, and the painter Masaccio. By ranking him with contemporary artists of this stature, Alberti defined the interest in and strength of Luca's work in marble and bronze, as well as in the terracottas for which his name is now more usually associated
As for the structure of the Cantoria itself, the Victoria & Albert Museum (which holds a 19th century plaster cast of part of the Cantoria in its collection) states that:

't he Cantoria, or Singing Gallery, was probably designed as an organ loft, and may have acquired its name when, in 1688, the balustrade was
replaced by a larger wooden structure to hold a choir to sing at Ferdinando de'Medici's wedding. It was not until 1891 that the reliefs and the
surviving lower part were reunited by Luigi del Moro in an erroneous reconstruction, with single, fluted pilasters dividing the reliefs. The
discovery in 1899, of a selection of the original paired Corinthian pilasters and a retrieval of part of the architrave and of the upper inscription
in 1941 permitted a more accurate reconstruction of the Cantoria in 1954'

The Fine Sale

Wednesday 22 November 2017, 10.00am

Donnington Priory
Oxford Road
RG14 2JE


Sunday 19 November
10am - 2pm
Monday 20 November
9am - 5.30pm
Tuesday 21 November
9.00am - 4.30pm
Day of sale from 8.30am

Important Information

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Artist's Resale Rights (“Droit de Suite”)

Lots marked with a delta symbol (δ) are subject to the Artist's Resale Right Law.The buyer agrees to pay Bloomsbury Auctions an amount equal to the resale royalty and we will pay such amount to the artist's collecting agent. Resale royalty applies where the Hammer price is 1,000 Euros or more and the amount cannot be more than 12,500 Euros per lot. The amount is calculated as follows:

Royalty For the portion of the Hammer Price (in Euros)
4.00% up to 50,000
3.00% between 50,000.01 and 200,000
1.00% between 200,000.01 and 350,000
0.50% between 350,000.01 and 500,000
0.25% in excess of 500,000

Invoices will, as usual, be issued in Pounds Sterling. For the purposes of calculating the resale royalty the Pounds Sterling/ Euro rate of exchange will be the European Central Bank reference rate on the day of the sale.