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    Bust of Homer by Francis Harwood.

    Bust of Homer by Francis Harwood.  UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £242,500

    A previously unrecorded marble bust of Homer discovered in Ireland will be offered at Sotheby’s in London on December 3 with an estimate of £70,000-100.000.  It is by Francis Harwood, one of the most celebrated British sculptors of the 18th century. Dated 1757 the sculpture is unrecorded and the earliest known Harwood depiction of the ancient Greek poet.  It has been in a private collection in Ireland since the 1950’s.

    There are only two other extant versions of Harwood’s Homer. One dated 1764 is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  The other, dated 1760 is at Castle Ashby in Northamptonshire.  Francis Harwood (1726/7-1783) was mostly active in Florence where he was highly favoured by British visitors on the Grand Tour.  Harwood forged a successful career in Italy, where he remained for 30 years. The young Antonio Canova visited his studio in October 1779 and made a detailed note in his diary about what he saw there.

    The Bust of Homer was housed in Dublin and then in Co. Louth. It was purchased by Canon Joseph Furlong, known as Kilcullen’s only flying priest, from Powerscourt.  Fr. Furlong came to Kilcullen in 1952 as parish priest and regularly took the skies in his monoplane. He died in 1971 and the sculptor passed by descent to the present owner. Sotheby’s European sculpture and works of art specialist Christopher Mason will provide free appraisals in Dublin and countrywide by appointment on September 23-24 and November 11-12.

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