Purchased from Messrs Franchi and Sons in 1866 for £25
St John the Baptist
Felice Palma (1583-1625)
Pisa Cathedral, Pisa, Italy
The original of this figure of St John the Baptist stands above a marble holy water stoup opposite a group surmounted by a companion figure of Christ (museum no. 1866-20) on either side of the nave of Pisa Cathedral. The electrotypes of both figures were purchased in 1866 as copies of works by Giambologna (Giovanni Bologna) (1529-1608), but they are signed on their bases FEL.PARMA SCVL. Both the groups and the figures of Christ and St John were commissioned by the operaio of the cathedral, Curzio Ceuli, who recorded in 1618 that he had commissioned the bronze figures from 'Felice Palma scultore in Firenze' (Felice Palma, sculptor in Florence) and that he had not yet received them. They must have been delivered in 1621 when he ordered two marble pedestals to support the figures above the groups from the marble carver, Francesco Cioli.