A 19th century Art Union Of London Parian bust of Apollo modelled by C. Delpech, dated 1861.
The bust depicts Apollo with his head looking to the right, with a drape across one shoulder fastened by a medallion. The whole sits upon a socle base which reads 'Art Union Of London 1861' to the fore, and 'Published February 1861' to the rear.
The Art Union of London was established in 1837. It was an organisation which distributed works of art amongst its subscribers by lottery. It described its aim as being "to aid in extending the love of the Arts of Design, and to give Encouragement to Artists beyond that afforded by the patronage of individuals." (The Art-Union Journal. 1: 74. 1839).
Each member paid a subscription of one guinea a year. In return they all received a large engraving annually, said to be at least equal in value to their subscription. In addition they had the chance of winning a prize at a yearly draw, initially either a proof copy of that year's print, or a painting. The winners of Art Union of London prizes had a free choice of any painting, up to a given value, shown at any of the London exhibitions that year. The Union was wound up following a resolution passed in 1912.
This wonderful example of a London Art Union piece has some light marking in areas commensurate with age, but generally remains in a very good condition overall.
A handsome piece.
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