A superb late 18th century Irish Neoclassical fireplace in statuary, Siena and Verde Antico marbles with statuary panels inlaid with scagliola swags of 'Bossi' work of the highest quality. Dublin, Circa 1780–1785.
With a stepped and moulded shelf which breaks forward over the jambs, the frieze centred with a rectangular basso relief, decorated with an oval framed carved figure of Britannia seated on her lion, bestowing her gift of 'Agricultural Plenty.’ Dressed as Ceres the classical goddess of agriculture and abundance, wearing a wreath of corn in her hair, and holding aloft her cornucopia, the horn of plenty, overflowing with summer fruits and flowers beside a sheaf of tied corn and scythe.
The flanking statuary side panels decorated with Bacchic scagliola swags of vine leaves and grapes in shaded greens and blues, tied and upheld at the ends by knotted bowed ribbons and falling down the sides, reminders of the festive celebrations following the gleaning of a successful harvest.
This theme is continued in the carved statuary end blockings, which bear harvest gathering tools, hay rakes, threshing flails, jars of cooling beer and sun hats, bonnets with ribbon ties.
The sienna jambs faced with pilasters of tapering herms inlaid with Verde antico and surmounted by bracket shaped acanthus decorated consoles with necklaces inlaid with beads, with tall slender three quarter column necks decorated with pearl necklaces, and capped with Iconic volutes, the whole raised on splayed feet.
Another similar chimneypiece can be seen in the Georgian Society Records 1909–1913, No. 4 Merrion Square, Dublin. Advertised in the Connoisseur, CXLIII, 1959 by the London antique dealers T Crowther and Sons of Fulham.
Height 63 3/4 in (162cm) width 71 3/4 in (186.5cm)
Internal height 50 3/4 in (128.8cm) width 48 in (122cm)
Shelf depth 7 1/2 in (19.3cm)