9316 A large English George IV Derbyshire alabaster model of a recumbent bull, looking to one side and with his legs tucked underneath, on a black Ashford marble base. Repair to the horns and possibly front legs. Attributed to the Joseph Hall Marble Works, Derby
Width: 16.25 ins (41.5 cms)
Depth: 9 ins (23 cms)
Height: 8 ins (20 cms) £6,500
In the early 19th century, from his home Chatsworth in Derbyshire, the sixth Duke of Devonshire (1790-1858) encouraged local craftsman in stone to emulate the great works of art in his family collection using local materials. The model for this alabaster bull was almost certainly taken from the work of Albert Cuyp (1620-1691) who specialised in portraying these noble beasts. Cuyp’s work ‘Peasants and Cattle by the River Merwede’, housed in London’s National Gallery, clearly shows this genre and is likely to have inspired this work in alabaster. A group of excellent craftsmen emerged who were producing works of art of the very highest quality. Among them was Joseph Hall, likely the maker of this bull, known for very fine alabaster carvings of dogs and bulls in 17th century style, some of which are still at Chatsworth today. The alabaster and the black marble it sits on were both quarried in Derbyshire.