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Model of the Roman circular Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, near Rome, by Giovanni Altieri (signed and dated 177?), cork

Height: 39.5cm
Width: 52.3cm
Depth: 51.3cm

Museum number: MR2

Curatorial note

This model represents Sir John Soane’s favourite classical building. He sketched the Temple, dramatically located on a cliff by a waterfall, when he was in Italy. The circular Temple was thought to have been dedicated either to the Goddess Vesta or to Hercules (circular temples dedicated to these two exist in Rome) and was founded during the Republican era in the 1st century BC. Soane used the distinctive form of the Corinthian Order of the Temple in his own architecture, most notably on the Tivoli Corner of the Bank of England.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Acquired by John Soane at the Govan Sale, Christie’s, 16 February 1804, with a cork model of the Arch of Constantine for £16.

Literature

Soane, Description (1830), p. 25 pl. 10, 16
Soane, Description,1835), pp. 87.93, pl. 38
P. de la Ruffinière du Prey, John Soane,1982, p. 359 note 9
V. Kockel, Tempel i Kork, Stockholm 1992, pp. 23-26 fig. 5
Kockel in Expo. München,1993, p.13 fig. 3; p. 16 figs. 5-6
Kockel, Phelloplastica (1998), pp. 31-34 figs. 15-6, 19
John Soane Architect: Master of Space and Light, Royal Academy exhbition catalogue (1999), pp. 102-103, cat 19 (model) and cat. 20 (lecture illustration); also pp. 160-162 cats 68-69 for its display in the Dome in 1811
M. Richardson, ‘John Soane and the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli’ in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain 46, 2003, pp. 127-146 in particular p.140
Complete Description, Sir John Soane's Museum, 2018
For other cork models of the same temple see Rom über die Alpen tragen p. 3303-309 and Kockel, Phelloplastica p. 57-68.

Exhibition history

In Pursuit of Antiquity: Drawings by the Giants of British Neo-Classicism, Sir John Soane's Museum, 1 February - 1 June 2008; Tchoban Foundation Museum für Architekturzeichnung, Berlin, 3 October 2015 - 14 February 2016
Thomas Girtin: The Art of Watercolour, Tate Britain, 4 July - 29 September 2002


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