Charles Towneley in the Park St. Gallery  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Charles Towneley in the Park St. Gallery is a conversation piece painting by German artist Johann Zoffany depicting Charles Towneley (1733–1810), his friends and his art collection.

He is surrounded by an imaginary arrangement of his sculptures. Engaged in discussion with him are three fellow connoisseurs, the palaeographer Charles Astle, Hon. Charles Francis Greville, F.R.S., and Pierre-François Hugues D'Hancarville. Prominent in front are Townley's Roman marble of the Discobolos, the Nymph with a Shell, of which the most famous variant was also in the Borghese collection and a Faun of the Barberini type. On a pedestal in front of the fireplace, the Boys Fighting from the Barberini collection had been Towneley's first major purchase, in 1768: Winckelmann had identified it as a lost original by Polyclitus. In point of fact, Towneley's only Greek original appears to have been the grave relief on the left wall above the Bust of a Maenad posed on a wall bracket. The so-called Bust of Clytie perches on the small writing-table, in Zoffany's assembly of the Townley marbles: it was extensively reproduced in marble, plaster, and the white bisque porcelain called parian ware for its supposed resemblance to Parian marble. Goethe owned two casts of this. The Townley Venus on a Roman well-head that serves as drum pedestal had been discovered by Gavin Hamilton at Ostia and quietly shipped out of the Papal States as two fragmentary pieces The marble "Towneley Vase", also furtively exported, stands on the bookcase at the rear: it was excavated about 1774 by Gavin Hamilton at Monte Cagnolo.



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