Important Notice
Free online live bidding through 'Summers Place Live' is available for this sale
(No surcharge - normal BP and VAT apply).
To register for this facility, visit the home screen of and click on Register (top right hand corner)
Lot 12

A monumental and important carved marble sundial

Portuguese, Oporto region, mid 18th century
357cm high by 130cm wide by 62cm deep

Estimate: £60,000 - £100,000
Hammer price: £75,000
Bidding ended. Lot has been sold.

Portugal has a rich tradition of country houses  and manors indigenously known as  solares or quintas. Some were modelled on the great 18th century gardens of Le Notre  and other landscape architects in France. Under King Joao, himself a great patron of the arts, began the great 18th century  period of Portuguese baroque.  The previous austere architectural style albeit heavily influenced by renaissance Italy was replaced  with exuberance.  With great profits from  its colonies and most especially gold and precious stones from  Minas Gerias and the Sertao of Sao Paulo in Brazil, it was the golden era of Portuguese architecture and ornament.

From it there emerged a new artistic language. Named the Joanine, in honour of the king, it was  an architectural style  that transformed quintas  not only in Portugal  but also in the nation’s Atlantic provinces and overseas colonies. This spectacular sundial , monumental in scale incorporates many architectural elements synonymous with the  baroque architecture of the  mid 18th century.

It was a  highly creative Italian  who created  a style of  this style of architecture perfectly suited to Northern Portugal. Born in 1691 and trained in Sienna Nicolau Nasoni  arrived in Oporto  in 1725. Having established his reputation modernising the city’s cathedral, he was commissioned by  Jeronimo de Tavora e Noronha to build  the Church of Clerigos, one of Oporto’s great 18th century churches.  Commissions for other churches and quintas followed of which the most well known is the grand solar de Mateus, known all over the world for the rose wine bearing its name.

The architectural composition of this sundial  probably owes more to  the façade of the Cas dos Porto Carreiro. Commissioned by Antonio de Vasconcelos Carvalho e Menezes, a wealthy Portugese noble who made part of his wealth in Brazil it was constructed by a Spanish architect but heavily influenced by  Nasoni’s work. The volute scrolls and the foliate elements as well as the stylized lambrequins all echo Nasoni’s designs for  the gilt woodwork of Oporto churches.

Garden ornament

Garden statue 

Read more

Our website uses cookies, as almost all websites do, to help provide you with the best possible browsing experience.

Accept Read more