Immortality presiding over the Arts
Andrea Casali (Rome 1705 - Rome 1784)
This is one of five ceiling paintings at Dyrham Park by Andrea Casali, and is thought to represent the personification of Immortality presiding over figures representing the Arts. All five canvases were painted by Casali for Alderman William Beckford (1709–1770), for his house, Fonthill Splendens, in Wiltshire. They were sold from Fonthill in 1801 and later installed in the ceiling of the Theatre Royal in Bath. Colonel George William Blathwayt (1797–1871) bought them for Dyrham Park in 1845.
Oil painting on canvas, Immortality presiding over the Arts, by Andrea Casali (Rome 1705 - Rome 1784), circa early 1760s, set into the ceiling of the Cedar Stairs. In the centre is a winged, female figure in white, seated on a sphere, with a spear in her right hand and a gold circlet held in her left. Above her, to the right and left, winged putti appear to move dark clouds out of her way. Surrounding her, to the bottom and sides of the composition, are eight female figures, thought to represent the Arts, holding their attributes.
Painted for Alderman William Beckford (1709-1770) for Fonthill Splendens, Wiltshire; Fonthill sale, 1801; ? bought by Paul Methuen of Corsham and presented by him in 1802 to the City of Bath, or ? bought by William Evill on behalf of Dimond, joint proprietor of the Theatre Royal, Bath; built into the ceiling of the Theatre Royal, Bath; purchased by Colonel Blathwayt for Dyrham Park in 1845; thence by descent; Indigenous collection purchased by Ministry of Works in 1956 and given to Dyrham Park in 1961
Dyrham Park, The Blathwayt Collection (acquired by the Ministry of Works via the National Land Fund in 1956, and transferred to the National Trust)
Makers and roles
Andrea Casali (Rome 1705 - Rome 1784), artist
Croft-Murray 1962-1970 Edward Croft-Murray, Decorative Painting in England, 1537 - 1837 (2 vols), 1962-1970, vol.II, p.182