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Pair Of Figures Of Assyrian King Sardanapalus And Queen


£500 | $697 USD | €583 EUR
Item Number: SA692298
Date of manufacture: 1930
Current Status: For sale
Seller: TJR Trading
This antique has been viewed 13 times in the past month with the most views from France.


This is a pair of figures of the Ancient Assyrian king Sardanapalus (Ashurbanipal) and his queen.
Similar figures were produced in parian porcelain. They were made by W.T. Copeland & Sons circa 1868-1894. Copeland produced a small series of these figures in response to the public excitement caused by the discoveries in the mid Nineteenth Century of the ancient Assyrian cities of Nimrud, Ninevah and Khorsabad. The Copeland figures were based on bas reliefs found in these ancient cities. They were modelled by Aaron Hays (British, active 1845–76) who was an employee of the British Museum at the time.
I believe this pair of figures are copies of the Copeland figures. During my research I have also found examples in bronze. The figures in question are cast metal, though not typical materials such as bronze or spelter. Perhaps steel or a similar metal. They are quite heavy. My scales only go up to 1kg but each figure weighs more than that. They are highlighted with parcel gilt detail and raised on square step down bases. The bases have winged sun discs to the front.
The figures are mounted on French gilt pine and gesso stands with royal blue velour tops.
I expect the figures to date to the Art Deco period as they are presented in a similar manner, and there was a great deal of interest in archaeology, Egyptology and so on around this time.
I cannot find any trace of a signature or a foundry mark on either piece.
The figures are in good general condition, though there is some slight looseness to the joints of the king, where I assume the screws that join each piece together need some tightening. This is most noticeable at the knees. They are both totally stable when standing. It is only noticeable if you were to tip the figure up. The gilt stands they sit on are quite worn, with chips to the gesso, and so on.
I found the below text on the British Museum's website. It may be of interest to you:
Text from J. Rudoe, 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950. A catalogue of the British Museum collection', 2nd ed. 1994. no. 45.
The Assyrian sculptures discovered by Henry Layard at Nimrud between 1845 and 1851 and subsequently by his successors at Nineveh created a sensation when they were put on display at the British Museum during the late 1840s and 1850s. When the Crystal Palace was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham in south London, casts of the Nimrud reliefs and the colossal winged bulls and lions were installed in a 'Nineveh Court', so called after Layard's Monuments of Nineveh, vol. 1, published in 1849. Layard initially thought he had discovered Nineveh, and so although this volume describes Nimrud, Nineveh was the name that caught the public imagination.
Hays and Jarvis both worked at the British Museum as attendants, Hays from 1845 to 1876 and Jarvis from 1869 to 1900. Little else is known about them, though when Jarvis retired at sixty his pension was reduced for 'grave misconduct', but the nature of his misdemeanour is not recorded. Hays appears to have been an amateur sculptor; as part of his application for employment in 1845 he submitted a number of sketches, mainly of sculpture, and a letter of recommendation from Richard Westmacott, who had recently designed the pedimental sculpture for the façade of the Museum. Hays exhibited the three standing figures of Sennacherib, Sardanapalus and his queen at the International Exhibition in London of 1871; the statuettes, dated 1868 in the exhibition catalogue, cost £1 10s. each (Official Catalogue, Fine Arts Department, Sculpture, nos 2564-6). Initially the series comprised these three figures only; the Nimrod vase and the winged gateway figures, together with a lion weight and a relief plaque of Ashurbanipal and his queen in a garden scene, were added later.
For a figure of Sennacherib marked 'A Hays Pub. March 1868. Regd. Feb 25th 868' see Atterbury, P. ed. 'The Parian Phenomenon', Shipton Beauchamp 1989, 174, pl. 568. A notice in The
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Internal Ref: C491


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as 1930.


Height = 31.7 cm (12.5")
Width = 12 cm (4.7")
Depth = 12 cm (4.7")

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TJR Trading
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