A Superbly carved Neoclassical Chimneypiece in the Late Adam Style
A late 18th century statuary marble fireplace, in the neo- classical late Adam style, with superbly carved centre tablet with a reclining figure of Fortuna with her horse. Circa 1785.
The one-piece shelf breaking forward over the jambs, above a frieze centred with a finely carved relief, of a seated female figure of Fortuna, her left hand holding a cornucopia over- flowing with fruits, while the other hand holds the bridle of a horse who looks at her attentively. The tablet is in the style of the sculptor Joseph Nollekins (1737–1823). Either side the tablet is flanked by side panels of finger flutes and end blockings carved with Cupid's bow and quiver. The pilaster jambs with inset panels, capped by inverted fan paterae, of foliate drops held by palmettes from which fall seven graduated intertwined leaf wreaths terminating with bell flower drops. The opening framed by carved mouldings and the whole on rectangular foot blocks.
This representation with the accompanying horse is the ‘Fortuna Equistris’ which meant the luck she brought was constant and not fickle. Fortuna (Latin: Fortuna, equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) was the goddess of fortune and the personification of luck in Roman religion. As here, Fortuna is often depicted with a gubernaculum (ship's rudder), a symbol of her ability to guide any project, institution or house through choppy waters, and a cornucopia (horn of plenty). Known colloquially in English Georgian discourse as ‘Lady Luck’.