New York, USA - A neoclassical Coadestone Naiad features as the centrepiece of Barbara Israel's antique garden ornament stand for the 60th Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, which starts on Friday.
Naiads were the ancient Greek spirits of pools or streams, and differed from Nereids which were spirits of the sea and rocky coasts. Naiads and Nereids were romanticised in Italian Renaissance art, collected by the Grand Tourists, and became popular in England during the Arcadian and Victorian eras when they were better known as Water Nymphs.
A similar stoneware Naiad was commissioned from Coade at Croome Court, laid out by Capability Brown and which is described in an 1824 guide to Croome by its gardener William Dean:
Beyond the Grotto, appears the figure of a Water Nymph, reclining on the bank, and holding an urn - through which, the waters, collected from a copious spring, at some distance, are made to flow, in a perpetucal stream, falling among pieces of broken rock; and afterwards mingling with the waters of the lake.This water nymph represents Hafren (Roman Sabrina), supposedly the ancient spirit of the river Severn. According to Alison Kelly in Mrs Coade's Stone:
The Croome Court Naiad was not far from the Severn, and either Mrs Coade or John Sealy showed some literary knowledge by referring to the figure, in their handbook, as Sabrina, the nymph of the Severn in Milton's Comus.
Although little seems to be known of Eleanor Coade the comment that she or Sealy had 'some literary knowledge' by Alison Kelly seems disingenuous. She was a feminist, successful businesswoman, poet, inventor, artist, devoutly Baptist and a charitable giver. Her huge success for fifty years from 1770 to 1830 in such a male-dominated world is extraordinary. She was also modest, was buried in an unmarked grave and left her considerable estate to charity.
Other, mainly English, items being shown by Barbara Israel at the Park Avenue Armory include Coade greyhounds, a generous Portland sundial, a pair of cast iron urns with raised rinceaux - scrolling foliage - to the body, a zinc Diana, a fine set of Villeroy & Boch four seasons, a marble seat and an armillary.
John Bacon, Eleanor Coade's sculptor and works manager, designed, and probably modelled, the figure in the 1770s, which was etched by him and published as a Water Nymph. This image is in a collection of photos of Naiads, Nereids and Nymphs, including Barbara Israel's, which can be seen on the pinterest link below.
Barbara Israel Garden Antiques is a Salvo Code subscriber.
BIGA: Winter Antiques Show Preview
Pinterest: tksalvo Nymphs Naiads and Nereids
Story Type: Exhibition Review
Date Modified: July 07, 2016, 10:19 AM