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  • CHARLES PERCIER (1764-1838)





    Watercolour with pen & ink

    29 x 20.8 cm



    With Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox;

    Where purchased by Sir Jack Baer, Kensington



    Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London, Nineteenth Century French Drawings, June 9 – 24 1994, no. 3



    The Calydonian Boar (Il Porcelino) is in the Uffizi, Florence, and by the 18th century, there were copies in many Private collections. An example in black marble is known to have been in the Borghese Collection (now in the Louvre, inv. no. Ma 1353). We are grateful to Professor Haskell for this information.’


    From the original Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox exhibition catalogue, see final image above for the Louvre's version of the Boar; Percier is known to have sketched Il Porcelino in-situ, in Florence, with a small ink & wash sketch of the fountain (Fontaine du Sanglier de bronze dit "Porcellino" à Florence, et maisons à loggia sans doute situées près du Vieux-Pont) now in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (MS 1010 fol 69 no. 108, see penultimate image above).



    Percier's complex frontispieces, filled with both real and imagined classical sculptural elements, often defy systematic analysis of each respective ornament (1), and the plethora of decoration in our sheet speaks more to the sheer breadth of Percier's decorative vocabulary than a particular source of inspiration. These ingenious conceptions have always been among the most sought-after of Percier's oueuvre, and the present sheet is an outstanding example from this discrete group of drawings which convey the artist-designer's plethora of inspirations so deftly. 



    A pupil of Antoine-François Peyre, Percier was awarded the Grand Prix of the Royal Academy of Architecture in 1786. With this he travelled to Rome, where he remained until 1792. In 1798, in association with Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, he published the fruits of their joint archaeological research and surveys of palazzi, houses and other notable buildings in Rome, which was followed in 1801 by a similar work depicting their interiors. Percier’s most popular works have always been his imagined compositions filled with pieces of sculpture and classical architecture, which he produced both as frontispieces and for private collectors.


    Several of the finest examples of these capricci can be found in the Louvre, while similar examples to our work which have sold at auction in recent years include A Roman Courtyard… sold at Christie’s, New York, 25.01.2005, Lot 127 ($19,200); Reliefs et Monuments Antiques sold at Artcurial, Paris, 31.03.2016, Lot 58 (€39,900); and Divers Fragments Antiques et Modernes, sold at Beaussant-Lefèvre, Paris, 15.05.2019, Lot 6 (€56,000). 

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