The 21in (53cm) white marble herm bust came for sale at Reeman Dansie (20% buyer’s premium) in Colchester on March 9 described as ‘the property of a lady, removed from a Hertfordshire country estate’.
The Grand Tour-era sculptor Ralmondo Trentanove (1792-1832) is perhaps best known as a pupil of Antonio Canova and much of his oeuvre comprised copies of neoclassical masterworks.
However, he also executed highly accomplished portrait busts and collaborated with Canova on his only sculpture created for a US patron – a life-size marble statue of Washington as a Roman general, commissioned for the North Carolina State House in 1815 but destroyed by fire in 1831.
A number of Trentanove busts of Washington in different guises are known with various dates from the 1820s. A seemingly more common version, with Washington in a toga secured by a brooch, has appeared for sale in New York many times; most recently one at Christie’s in 2019 sold at $16,000.
Reeman Dansie guided its bust (in good condition save a few chips to the base) at £10,000-15,000 and it found a buyer at £16,000.