This relief of putti playing with a dolphin represents an allegory of water.

It is typical of a genre of carving that the Flemish sculptor Michael Rysbrack introduced into England, where he was working from about 1720. The work shows a contrast between high and low relief and between soft and crisply detailed surfaces. The depiction of plants is typical, as is the technique of hatching the foreground terrain. The design is almost certainly Rysbrack's own and the relief is carved out of a single panel of white marble. His method was to work in terracotta, make scale revisions and finally carve in marble.


Christie's, 8/12/92, lot 77; with Daniel Katz Ltd.

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