Description: A octagonal form model of a temple with a domed roof supported by eight Corinthian columns. It is possible that this model is a teaching aid; it is likely that it was a Grand Tour model. While most Grand Tour models may represent an actual archaelogical site, this one is more likely to be an original composition representing an idealized form but is similar to the Tempietto of San Pietro by Bramante and the Florence cathedral Dome by Brunelleschi.
Location of Origin: Europe / England
Medium/Materials: Wanlut and Bronze
Dimensions: 24in (h) x 12in (w) x 12in (d)
Provenance: Private English collection
Expertise: The Grand Tour has long been a symbol of wealth and freedom. In the late 16th century, it became quite fashionable for young aristocrats to visit Italy and France as the finishing touch on their classical education. Travel was arduous and costly during this time and possible only for a privileged class and thus the Grand Tour lasted until the 19th century when railways across Europe allowed for easier travel. While these travels were very popular with the English, they were also undertaken by other Northern Europeans as well as Americans.
The Grand Tour was developed out of the idea of traveling for the sake of curiosity and cultural development. These travels not only provided a cultural education but also allowed wealthier Grand Tourists an opportunity to purchase items unavailable at home, and it thus increased the travelers' social standing and prestige. Travelers would return with crates of books paintings sculpture and other cultural goods which would be displayed in libraries, gardens, and purpose-built galleries in their homes.
A large number of artists such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canalletto) benefited from the patronage of the Grand Tour as travelers purchased souvenirs.
See the Model of Bramante's Tempietto of San Pietro in the Victoria and Albert Museum for a comparable example.
A comparable example was sold at Christies London March 6 2008 for $49,000. See "A house at Whiltshire Downs" Sale 7540 Lot 80.