Satyrs, centaurs and centauresses
The husband and I have something of a weakness for buying modern objects on classical themes. One of our favourite (and cheapest) purchases was a (query) late nineteenth, early twentieth-century "fireside set" in the shape of a Roman legionary. Yes, it's a bit naff -- but we love it. Cheap, of course, because who else would want it?
Last weekend at our favourite local auction house we bought a couple of lead plaques with "classical heads". Actually (on the right, below) they turned out to be Napoleon and the lovely Marie-Louise, by the engraver Bertrand Andrieu. But they are displayed as many a Roman imperial couple, so -- so much the better.
But more intriguing was a firescreen (which we sort of needed, if you can ever actually need a firescreen) which we got for £70 and was decorated with a satyr, a centaur and centauress.
It's actually, as you can see from the picture at the top (and below), rather pretty. It's not at all posh. The images are simply stained on, they are not inlaid. But what date could it be, and (to ask the art historical question) what are the parallels?
Our view is that it cannot be post the second world war (no one surely had firescreens made with these classical themes after then, or even firescreens made at all). But how much earlier is it? The fact that it is fairly obviously mass produced made us think it was later rather than earlier. But the odd thing is that we haven't (after a bit of searching, but not comprehensive, to be sure) found a parallel on the web -- and if there were thousands made you'd expect that.
The other odd thing (as the husband observed) is that it is a rather odd shape for a firescreen. That is to say that a firescreen usually has a broad central panel and two narrow ones. This is the other way round. So is it another sort of screen. But what.
Any ideas? (It has had its hinges replaced, by the way -- but they appear to be in the same place as the originals.)