Apollino or the Medici Apollo
workshop of Matthew Brettingham the younger (1725-1803)
Painted plaster, the Apollino or Medici Apollo, possibly cast by Bartolomeo Mattevali on behalf of Matthew Brettingham (1724-1803), cast c. 1758. A full-length plaster cast painted white of the Apollino or Medici Apollo, after the antique marble then in the Villa Medici, now in the Uffizi, Florence (inv. 1914 no. 229). The god Apollo as a young man, nude, leaning in relaxed contrapposto against a tree trunk. The proper right arm is raised and bent at the elbow, the forearm and hand rest on the crown of the head. Apollo's quiver full of arrows is tied to the tree trunk. Mounted on a painted plaster base. The statue is cast after a Roman marble formerly in the Villa Medici, Rome. The marble has long been considered a Roman copy of a lost sculpture by Praxtiteles. It was moved to Florence with the Niobe Group in 1769-70 and by the end of 1770 it was placed in the Tribuna of the Uffizi (see Haskell and Penny 1981, pp. 146-8, no. 7, fig. 76).
Nathaniel Curzon (1726-1804) acquired this cast of the Apollino or Medici Apollo from Matthew Brettingham (1725-1803), an architect who primarily dealt in antiquities and casts for the British aristocracy. The cast is recorded as 'Apollo of ye Villa Medici' in a handwritten inventory of sculpture and statuary produced by Curzon himself in around 1760 (MS, Kedleston Archive). On the verso of that list the cast is recorded again under the subheading 'Statues I have not yet disposed of', indicating that Curzon was yet to make a decision about where to place the statue once Robert Adam's renovations were complete (MS, Kedleston Archive). In the event the Apollino was first installed on the Great Staircase (Catalogue of the pictures, statues, &c. at Kedleston, 1758, Great Staircase, p.16) but by c. 1788-89 it had been moved to the Marble Hall (see Catalogue of the pictures, statues, &c. at Kedleston, 1769, p.7, annotated copy in the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles). During his seven-year stint in Rome (1747-54) Brettingham not only dealt in casts and antiquities - furnishing the Earl of Leicester, for example, with casts and marble statues for Holkham - but also commissioned actual moulds to be taken from famous Roman statues. The idea was that casts could then be made to order when he returned to London. The Apollino was one of twelve moulds of antique statues Brettingham commissioned. According to his Rome ledger, a mould of 'ye little Apollo' was produced in 1754 and again in January 1755 (Kenworthy-Browne 1983: pp. 99-100). Some years earlier, in October 1752, Brettingham had also bought a plaster cast or 'Gesso of ye Little Apollo' from the Roman sculptor Bartolomeo Cavaceppi (c.1716-99) which may be the one now at Holkham (c.1716-99) (Kenworthy-Browne 1983: p. 68). Although no bill or receipt exists for the Kedleston cast, receipts in other archives show that Brettingham charged the Earl of Leicester and Duke of Richmond £8 respectively for a cast of the Apollino in 1756 (between £800 and £900 in today's money). Alice Rylance-Watson March 2019
Kedleston Hall, The Scarsdale Collection (acquired with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1987)
Makers and roles
workshop of Matthew Brettingham the younger (1725-1803), dealer possibly Bartolomeo Mattevali, caster
Haskell and Penny 1981: Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique, The Lure of Classical Sculpture 1500 - 1900, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 146-8, no. 7, fig. 76 Kenworthy-Browne 1983: John Kenworthy-Browne, 'Matthew Brettingham's Rome Account Book 1747-1754', The Volume of the Walpole Society, vol.49 (1983), pp.37-132, pp. 68, 75, 82, 95, 99, 100 Kenworthy-Browne 1993: John Kenworthy-Browne, ‘Designing around the statues. Matthew Brettingham’s casts at Kedleston’, Apollo, April 1993, pp.248-252