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François Fouquet (1787 - 1870), maker

Model of the Roman circular Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, near Rome, 'restored', c.1800-1834

Plaster of Paris

Height: 27cm
Width: 19.4cm
Depth: 19.4cm

Museum number: MR13

Curatorial note

This model is a reconstruction of how the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli may have originally appeared. The Temple, c.1st century BC, was Soane’s favourite classical building. He had first become fascinated by the small building when he saw drawings of it by his first teacher, George Dance the Younger (1741-1825), having entered his office as a fifteen-year-old in 1768. He visited the Temple at some point in 1778-80 and produced a number of sketches of the building. Soane later used the Temple in several of his own buildings, notably for the Tivoli Corner at the Bank of England (Soane’s most important commission).

Fouquet has based his reconstruction on a number of sources, including earlier attempts at reconstruction by Palladio, Serlio and Desgodetz. Fouquet has even depicted the cult statue of Vesta, standing upon a minature socole within the circular cella of the temple. Fouquet has given temple a domed roof, surmounted by pinecone finial and the entablature supports a row of statues. There is no archaeological evidence to support such a reconstruction and it is likely that the temple originally had a shallow, conical tiled roof.

Exact replicas of this exquisite model have been made by Timothy Richards and are available from the Soane shop.

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.

Exhibition history

Soane: Connoisseur & Collector, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 6 April - 2 September 1995; The Frick Collection, New York, 30 April - 7 July 1996
Wonders of the Ancient World: François Fouquet's Model Masterpieces, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 15 July - 22 November 2011


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