This is a lovely pair of antique English Victorian ivorine wall plaques, by the Italian-born sculptor Giovanni Franchi (1811-1874), and made in London in 1855.
These beautiful plaques were made after the original work of the French sculptor Alexandre-Pierre Schoenewerk (1820-1885) and feature two splendid Old Testament scenes. One plaque, featuring ‘Rachel and Jacob at the well’, depicts the scene of the encounter between the two characters when Jacob, according to the Bible, fell in love with Rachel while seeing her at a well near Haran, an outpost of the ancient city of Ur. The characters are depicted in great detail in the centre of the plaque, surrounded by wonderfully cast trees, camels, people and houses in the background. The sculptor clearly leaves no part of the plaque empty or without interest.
The other plaque depicts two different characters of the Old testament in the forefront – a young lady dressed in the attire of the period, in a seated position and gathering the crops from the field. The man, also dressed in the typical clothes of the period is standing tall near the woman and speaking to her. Once again, the plaque is extremely detailed, with every possible particular being captured by the sculptor – the background being filled with people working the fields, trees, sheds, working instruments, and cattle. In both plaques, the palm trees seem to beautifully frame the scene as almost to welcome the viewer to the story.
Both plaques are set in their fabulous original antique ebonised frames and are signed and dated verso, ‘G. Franchi, London 1855’. One plaque is also signed in the front ‘Schoenewerk’.
It is a splendid and indeed interesting pair which will surely enhance any interior.
In excellent condition, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 21 x Width 21 x Depth 4.5
Dimensions in inches:
Height 8.3 x Width 8.3 x Depth 1.8
Pierre Alexandre Schoenewerk (18 February 1820 – 23 July 1885), or Alexandre Schoenewerk, was a French sculptor. He was a student of David d’Angers and was named a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor in 1873.
Giovanni Franchi (1811-1874). Figure maker; modeller, caster in ivorine by 1848, electrotypists (‘electro metallurgists’ in 1857).
Italian-born Giovanni Ferdinando Franchi (1811-1874) and his English-born son, Giovanni Antonio Franchi (c.1832-1870), made the transformation from casting figures in plaster to producing electrotypes. Franchi and his son also played a significant role in the market for reproductions ivorine, cast in plaster. The business was eventually sold to Elkington & Co.
Our reference: 09854