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An Irish George III Neoclassical Chimneypiece Carved in Statuary Marble with Siena Inlays

A circa 1775 Irish chimneypiece with a breakfront shelf supported by a reeded freeze. This is centred by a tablet carved with a sleeping infant Hercules holding two snakes, his club under his legs, while a cupid is watching him sleeping. The reclyning Cupid iconography, popular from the Renaissance throughout the Neoclassical period, can be seen as a variant of the mythological episode of the Infant Hercules fighting a snake sent into his crib by Hera. The frieze ends in cornerblocks depicting two cupids. The jambs are carved with a thyrsus, a pair of doves standing on top of this.

Height 53⅛in (135cm) width 70½in (179cm)
Internal height 41½in (105.5cm) width 46½in (119cm)
Footblock to footblock 67in (170cm)
Shelf depth 6½in (16.5cm)