The Tivoli Recess

In his house at No. 13, it appears that Soane was catalysed to develop a recess into a sculpture gallery by his success in persuading Parliament to pass the Act of 1833 establishing the Museum as his gift to the nation.

In his 1835 Description of the Museum he remarks of the Tivoli Recess:

…the ceiling…is highly enriched by ornaments figurative of the sun’s meridian splendour shining forth on its little world of treasures…

On the west side, near the floor, is a plaster cast of a Grecian Feast … modelled … by John Flaxman. Above it is a plaster Cast of a basso-relievo … by Thomas Banks….. The subject is the Grief of Achilles for the Death of Patroclus. Above … is an original terracotta Model by the same Artist of … Caratacus before Claudius. Over this … is a Basso-relievo in terracotta from the Borghese vase … by John Flaxman.

On the north side, facing the entrance, is a model of a Sleeping Child … by Frances Chantrey. Above it … two small statues of Cupid and Psyche and over these the splendid work of the same Artist, the Shield of Achilles. Above … is a copy of the Entablature of the little Temple at Tivoli, half the dimensions of the ancient work.’

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