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Model of the so-called Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii, Albano Laziale, Rome, attributed to Richard Dubourg

Cork

Height: 31cm
Width: 24cm
Depth: 24cm

Museum number: MR4

Curatorial note

The unusual form of this monument, located outside Albano (ancient Alba Longa), near Rome, made it a well-known sight. Its name derives from two legendary families – the Horatii of Rome and their adversaries the Curiatti from Alba Longa who were thought to be buried in the Tomb. The battle between brothers from these two rival families was set in the earliest years of Rome’s existence; in reality, the Tomb, with its distinctive ‘towers’ dates to the late Republic. The conical forms of these towers imitate earlier, Etruscan, funerary monuments.

Soane saw the monument on his Grand Tour on 22 March 1779 but did not make extensive notes simply recording 'Between L... and Albano you see the Monument of the Horatii and the Curiatii' (SM Volume 39, 63r). The drawing of the monument prepared for his Royal Academy lectures (20/4/3) is inscribed as being `from Mr Turnerelli's model’. Presumably, this is a reference to a cork model owned by Peter Turnerelli, the sculptor. It does not appear to be after this model as the proportions seem quite different. Presumably at the time it was drawn Soane did not own his own cork model of it.

Soane must have acquired this model in England but its provenance is not known. However, it may well have been made by Richard Dubourg a model-maker who mounted public displays of his cork models at various addresses in London between the 1780s and 1819. A surviving engraving of his 'Model Museum', dating from 1818, shows a model of the Monument to the Horatii and the Curiatii on a stand. It is possible - although we have no proof - that Soane acquired this model when Dubourg's collection was sold at auction in 1819.

Associated objects

20/4/3, related material
63r (SM volume 39), related material


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