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M Geiss [Berlin]

Venus d'Arles 1858

Zinc | RCIN 41879

Upper Terrace, Osborne House

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  • In the 1850s Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert acquired a series of zinc cast statues based on originals from the antique for the gardens at Osborne House, their summer residence in the Isle of Wight. The statues were cast by the Berlin founders M. Geiss, who exhibited a bronzed zinc cast of stags in the 1851 Great Exhibition in London that were purchased by Prince Albert. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert acquired eleven zinc statues from M Geiss for Osborne House and these included Urania, Euterpe, L’Adorant, Ganymede, Venus of Capua, Meleager, Bacchus, Venus de Medici, Ceres, Medea and Venus d’Arles. This large full-length zinc statue of the goddess Venus is a version of the full-length marble statue of the ‘Venus d’Arles’ (now at Musée du Louvre) dating from 1st century BC, which had been discovered during excavations in the Roman theatre at Arles in 1651. Although fragmented when found, it was restored and reconstructed in the late 17th century. Venus is depicted with her right leg bent, wearing classical drapery over the thighs and legs, with a fold of her draperies over her left arm and holding a broken brand in her left hand and a sphere in her right. The statue was presented by Queen Victoria to Prince Albert as a Christmas gift in 1858.

    Given to the Prince Consort by Queen Victoria, Christmas 1858.

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