The Idol (or Idolino)
Italian (Florentine) School
Painted plaster, the Idol (or Idolino), Italian School, cast c. 1756-8. A plaster cast of the Idol (or Idolino), cast after the antique marble in the Museo Archeologico, Florence. A full-length statue of a youth, nude (with fig leaf), standing in contrapposto, his proper right arm outstretched. The statue is mounted on a square plaster base. The statue is cast after a Roman bronze copy of a lost Greek statue. It was unearthed at Pesaro in 1530 and was then thought to depict Bacchus. Soon after its discovery it was presented to Francesco Maria della Rovere and a century later it was inherited by Vittoria della Rovere, wife of Ferdinand II de' Medici. By 1897 it had been moved from the Uffizi to the Museo Archeologico, Florence (see Haskell and Penny 1981, pp. 240-41, no. 50, fig. 123).
The cast of the Idolino was probably acquired for Nathaniel Curzon (1726-1804) around 1756 to 1758 by the sculptor Joseph Wilton (1722-1803). Unfortunately no bill or receipt survives to prove the purchase, but Wilton was responsible for acquiring four other casts from Florentine collections in 1757 (see MS, Kedleston Archive, a receipted bill from Joseph Wilton dated August 1757 accounting for 'the Wrestler [departed], 'the Grinder [departed], 'Venus washing' [NT 109014], and the 'Bacchus of Sansovino' [NT 108991]). The cast is recorded as 'The Idol' in a handwritten inventory of sculpture and statuary produced by Curzon himself in around 1760 (MS, Kedleston Archive). It is listed again on the verso of that inventory, under the subheading 'Saloon Statues'. The Idolino was initially installed in the Saloon (see 'Catalogue of the pictures, statues, &c. at Kedleston', 1758, Saloon, p. 9) but by c. 1788-89, when the Saloon was converted into a ballroom, it had been moved to the Marble Hall, where it stands today (see 'Catalogue' of 1769, p. 7, see annotated copy in the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles). Joseph Wilton lived in Florence from 1751 to 1755, following three years in Rome producing copies and casts of antique sculpture with Matthew Brettingham (1725-1803), the dealer and cast-maker responsible for all of statues at Kedleston cast after Roman antiquities. Unlike Matthew Brettingham, who acquired the actual moulds for some of the Roman statuary he cast for Kedleston, Wilton probably had the casts made through an agency in Florence. Alice Rylance-Watson March 2019
Purchased by Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Scarsdale (1726-1804) from Joseph Wilton (1722-1803) c. 1756-8; identifiable in the 'Catalogue of the pictures, statues, &c. at Kedleston' of 1758 (Saloon, p. 9); and in the c. 1788-89 annotations of a 1769 Catalogue (Marble Hall, p. 7) see annotated copy in the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; and in the 1861 Catalogue (Marble Hall, p. 7); purchased with part of the contents of Kedleston with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund in 1987 when the house and park were given to the National Trust by Francis Curzon, 3rd Viscount Scarsdale (1924-2000).
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
Italian (Florentine) School, caster Joseph Wilton, RA (London 1722 - Wanstead 1803), dealer
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. 240-41, no. 50, fig. 123. Kenworthy-Browne 1993: John Kenworthy-Browne, ‘Designing around the statues. Matthew Brettingham’s casts at Kedleston’, Apollo, April 1993, pp.248-252