Greek marble draped female portrait statue
Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel (1585-1646), Arundel House, London
Thence by descent to Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk (1655-1701), Norfolk House, London
Boyder Cuper, Lambeth, gifted by the above, circa 1691-1717
John Freeman Cook (c. 1669-1752), Fawley Court, Henley-on-Thames, acquired from Cuper, 1717, thence by descent
Edward McKenzie, Fawley Court, thence by descent, circa 1853-1953
Polish Congregation of Marian Fathers, Fawley Court, 1953-1985
The Property of the Marian Fathers, Fawley Court, Henley-on- Thames. The Arundel Marbles and other sculpture from Fawley Court and Hall Barn; Christie's, London, 10 December 1985, lot 257
Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel (1585-1646) formed the first important collection of Classical Sculpture in this country. Enamoured of this art by visiting Italy in his youth with Thomas Coke and later Inigo Jones and making his first acquisitions of sculpture, he later appointed an agent, the Rev. William Petty, to visit Athens and Turkey to purchase statuary sculpture on his behalf. With enormous energy he set about collecting over 200 statues, busts, sarcophagi, altars and inscriptions, scoring over his patron's closest rival, the Duke of Buckingham. These were shipped back to England, where by 1618 they had become the focal point of Howard's sculpture gallery in Arundel House in the Strand.
Sadly, Thomas Howard's love of the antique was not shared by his heirs. His grandson, Henry, 6th Duke of Norfolk, pulled down Arundel House and many of the pieces were sold off or buried under the rubble. Sir William Fermor bought some of the more important items, which were subsequently bequeathed to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where they became the basis of its sculpture collection. In 1691, Thomas Howard's great-grandson, the 7th Duke of Norfolk, gave a number of items to a former servant Boyder Cuper, who used them to adorn a pleasure garden that he had opened on the Thames Embankment at Lambeth, which came to be corruptly known and 'Cupid's Garden'. Pleasure gardens were fashionable haunts, offering latern-lit strolls, live music out of opera season, refreshments and occasional fireworks displays. Here they were seen and recorded by John Aubrey in his publication Natural History and Antiquities of Surrey, vol. V, in 1712. They were then spotted by John Freeman of Fawley Court, Henley-on-Thames, and his friend Edmund Waller of Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, who purchased them for £75 and divided them between their respective homes.
John Freeman began to redesign his garden at Fawley Court to incorporate a folly (also called a "temple" or "chapel") in Gothic Style, to hold some of his new marbles. He produced a number of sketches including the front elevation, which incorporates two draped figures, including this draped female, either side of the arched window (J. Harris, A Passion for Building, The Amateur Architect in England, 1650-1850, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 2007, no. 45). The sculptures remained at Fawley court for more than two and a half centuries, passing through the hands of the various owners. Denys Haynes, former Keeper of the Greek and Roman Department of the British Museum, rediscovered these lost Arundel marbles in the late 1960s.
John Aubrey, The natural history and antiquities of the county of Surrey : Begun in the year 1673; F. R. S. and continued to the present Time. Illustrated with proper Sculptures, 1719, vol. V, tab. VI
Denys Eyre Lankester Haynes, 'The Fawley Court Relief’, Apollo 96, July 1972, 11 no. 18, fig 7 centre and fig. 18
Denys Eyre Lankester Haynes, The Arundel Marbles, Oxford, 1975, 16.
"Fawley Court Historic House and Museum", brochure for the Divine Mercy college, Marian Fathers, undated, p. 2, illus.
The statue is larger than life-size and stands with its weight on its right leg. The sandal on the woman’s right foot emerges from beneath the folds of her chiton. The left leg is bent and slightly further forward. She is dressed in two distinct layers: first, her buttoned chiton, which is secured along the sleeve of her right arm and falls to the floor with plunging, vertical folds. Secondly, her peplos, which is held by thin straps over her shoulders, extends below her knees, exposing the right breast, while deep folds cascade beside her.
Portrait statues of women began to appear in the fourth century BC in Athens, and became increasingly popular until they were a common votive dedication in the Hellenistic period. The growth of the representation of female portrait statues highlights the significant role that women played in Greek society. Generally, the statues were established as part of a larger family, usually dedicated by their closest male relatives.
The typical dress of female statues adheres to the Classical sculptural tradition of the fourth century BC. They are composed of two or three pieces of clothing: the chiton, a long tunic which hangs down and covers most of the feet, and the himation, a light silk or linen mantle draped around the body and over the tunic. Few statues wear the third piece, the peplos, a thick mantel, which is normally worn over the chiton and secured at the chest or waist. Most of the female statues are wearing a himation over the chiton. Usually, the mantle covers most of the tunic and wraps most of the body, while in other cases, the arms are uncovered and the tunic is visible at the chest and around the legs.
The format and style of our marble sculpture, which clearly has its roots in fourth-century imagery, combines the traditional short-sleeved, ankle-length tunic with, in this case, a mantle draped diagonally across the chest. Here, the folds at the top of the mantle cross the body in a diagonal line from the right waist to the left shoulder. The arms of statues in this format were typically bent perpendicular to the body and held in a open pose. This kind of depiction is used for a variety of female figures in late Classical and Hellenistic sculpture, and a very close parallel to our sculpture is the statue of a draped woman from Kos (Kos Museum inv. 20).