The History of the Holburne Collection
The Collection: Sculpture
A love of the small and intricate and constraints of space in his home in Cavendish Crescent were probably the reasons behind Sir William Holburne' formation of an extraordinary collection of miniature bronze sculpture: the 1874 inventory lists 102 bronze figures that were displayed in Sir William's Study. Five further bronze figures, together with a life-size bust of Seneca were listed in the Dining Room.
The 1887 catalogue of the collection lists the sculpture under 'Antique Bronze Statuettes', 'Oriental Bronzes' and 'Cinque Cento Bronzes and Later Period'. All the pieces were displayed on pedestals of coloured marbles and hardstones. The collection includes a remarkably fine group of seventeenth-century figures that includes works by Antonio Susini and Antonio Fanelli. Many of the ancient and renaissance pieces, however, have subsequently been identified as later copies and in some cases, deliberate fakes.