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François Fouquet (1787 - 1870), maker

Model of the Tower of the Winds, Athens, 'restored', plaster of Paris, c.1800-1834

Height: 33cm
Width: 22.5cm
Depth: 22.5cm

Museum number: MR11

Curatorial note

This tower, or rather horologium, was erected by the Macedonian astronomer Andronikos Cyrrhestes in order to measure time in c.48 BC. The eight sides of the octagonal Tower are incised with lines which form a sundial. Above this are bas-reliefs showing personifications of the eight winds. The roof was surmounted by a gilt bronze triton that acted as a weather vane. Inside, a waterclock or clepsydra was powered by water fed from the apse-like cistern on the south side of the building. Two gabled porches gave access into the Tower.

Fouquet has based his reconstruction on plates I-XIX, chapter III, vol. I, of James Stuart and Nicholas Revett’s famous pubication The Antiquities of Athens, 1762. Stuart and Revett’s reconstructions of the Tower are highly detailed and Fouquet has very closely followed them. He has modelled the distinctive baseless, fluted columns of the porches with their capitals decorated with the leaves of water plants. He has also modelled the personifications of the eight winds, each of which is shown bearing his or her specific attributes as illustrated in The Antiquities of Athens. Unusually, Fouquet has also replicated details of the interior of the building – something that he normally did not undertake.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Sir John Soane purchased the twenty models by François Fouquet in 1834 from the architect Edward Cresy (1792-1858) who, from 1829 to 1835, worked in Paris. Soane paid Cresy the substantial sum of £100 (£10,136.78 in today’s money). It is likely that Cresy purchased the models directly from Fouquet et Fils.


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk