A vast collection of 19th century Animalier bronzes by celebrated sculptors, including Pierre Jules Mêne, Ferdinand Pautrot, Jules Moigniez, Isidore Jules Bonheur and his sister Rosa Bonheur, is to be sold at Bonhams, Knightsbridge as part of its monthly Period Design sale on June 8.
The 70-strong collection - which was assembled over many years by a nobleman with a passion for hunting, riding and rural life - features horses, sheep, cows, goats, deer, dogs and birds.
Highlights include a rare bronze model of a barge horse modeled by Isidore Jules Bonheur and cast by Hippolyte Peyrol (estimated at £4,000-6,000); a bronze model of a stallion by Pierre Jules Mêne (£2,500-3,500); and a bronze group of Merino sheep by Jules Moigniez (£2,000-3,000).
The sculptors, many of whom influenced and learnt from each other, exhibited their works in the Paris salons, as well as selling privately.
Rachael Osborn-Howard, the specialist in charge of the collection, says: "This is a truly spectacular collection created over many years by a discerning nobleman with an eye for quality.
"Not only are many of the models rare, they are united by the same features that buyers are still looking for; crisp casting, good rich patination and detailed modelling."