London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) February 02, 2012 -- Following the acquisition of a large period Italian Renaissance fireplace, architectural antiques specialist, Westland London based in London EC2 have been able to trace the piece by repute to Warwick Castle. Carved in Istrian marble, it's a substantial and imposing example of the beauty, intricacy and classical features of Italian Venetian Renaissance design carving and architecture.
The frieze is carved in high relief with leafy scrolls interspersed with Putii on seahorses styled with front legs rearing either side of a central circular medallion. The medallion itself features Hercules striking down an opponent with dramatic effect. Winged figures on the corners bookend the frieze gloriously with detailed feather texturing and talons.
The jambs are equally intricate with typical descending Arabesque designs. Though it is Venetian in origin and dates back to the 17th-18th century, its more recent provenance is reputed to have been Warwick Castle. A partly medieval castle built in 1068 by William the Conqueror, Warwick Castle sits on the River Avon in Warwickshire containing some of the world's finest antique furniture and architecture.
The chimneypiece was probably brought to England at some point during the long period of The Grand Tour when sons of The Gentry were encouraged to travel to the cultural centers of mostly Mediteranean Europe..before or after University in the equivalent of their Gap Year. Usually longer than one year, the Grand Tour started in the 17th century when the usual destinations were Venice, Florence and Rome...and on into the 19th century when Greece and even Egypt became the destination for the most adventurous once the grip of the Ottomans was loosening.
The marble itself originates from the Istrian peninsula, which borders Italy, Croatia and Slovenia on the Adriatic Sea. It is sometimes referred to as Istrian stone, which was used prolifically in Renaissance Veneto, Venice etc.
The antique Renaissance fireplace currently takes its place amongst a remarkable collection of other grand examples at the Westland London gallery at St. Michaels Church in Central London.