Jan Baptist Xavery

A Group of three playful Putti fighting over a Bunch of Grapes

Jan Baptist Xavery was born in Antwerp in 1697. He was the son of Albert Xavery, who was also a sculptor. He completed his training in Italy, where he travelled extensively, absorbing the influence of both Italian masters and Flemish masters who had preceded him there, such as François Duquesnoy. He settled in The Hague, where he became Sculptor to the Court. In 1725, his name was entered in the registry of artists of The Hague, for which he paid the due fee. His known pupils include the sculptor Willem Hendrik van der Wall (Utrecht 1716 – 1790). While working in The Hague, he married Christine Robart. The couple had two sons: Frans and Jacob Xavery, who would both become painters. Jan Baptist Xavery also temporarily worked in Kassel. He worked in marble, terracotta, ivory and sandstone, proving himself to be a versatile artist, well-versed in working in different media. Examples of his work can be found in a number of important museums today, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam).

The present work, a group of three putti playfully fighting over a bunch of grapes, compares very favourably to a signed terracotta group by Xavery depicting an Allegory of Autumn, now in the V&A Museum (London). Of similar size (height 25 cm), it was a sketch model for a large stone group that once stood at Wingfield Castle (Norfolk). The present work was probably also intended as a bozzetto for a – possibly never executed – large-size group in terracotta, stone or marble, probably intended as decoration for a garden or patio.

Artist: Jan Baptist Xavery (Antwerp 1697 - 1742 The Hague)
Medium: terracotta
Dimensions: height 29 cm