Bonhams' December 13 sculpture sale boasts some of the most striking examples of classical and neo-classical marble pieces to come to auction this year, including a 19th century work depicting the dwarf Morgante riding a turtle.
The lot, which is based on the design for a fountain, was commissioned by Cosimo Medici, the first of the grand dukes of Tuscany and a man renowned for his involvement in architecture and the arts as well as a passion for alchemy.
The unusual piece features an archetype of Italian high society, the court jester, or court dwarf. In this instance he sits astride a turtle; the work carrying a high estimate of £60,000 ($97,000).
Francois le Brun, director of European furniture at Bonhams, commented: "Our December sale is a feast for the senses. We have some extraordinary works of sculpture as well as exquisite pieces of furniture from across Europe.
"The figures offered for sale give a fascinating insight into the way sculpture was used to immortalise key members of society, whether a king or a queen, goddess or the court dwarf. It was an incredibly effective way to elevate these important figures and to commemorate their roles in shaping the way we live today."
Other eye catching lots include US sculptor Hiram Power's marble bust of the goddess of Spring, Proserpine, which has a high estimate of £50,000 ($81,000), and a pair of Venetian marble busts of an African king and queen, which have an estimated worth of £60,000 ($97,000)
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