South Scotland

Lost bronze valued at £100,000 found at Borders house valuation

Sculpture Image copyright Alex Robson
Image caption The sculpture is expected to fetch up to £150,000 at auction later this week

A bronze sculpture valued between £100,000 and £150,000 was discovered during a "routine house valuation" in the Scottish Borders.

The 18th Century work, Ganymede and the Eagle, is by Italian sculptor Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi.

It is being sold at auction in Edinburgh later this week by Lyon & Turnbull.

Douglas Girton, a specialist with the company, said it was a "major discovery of an extremely rare item".

"We were conducting a routine valuation when we came across the bronze," he said. "Nothing is known of its origins, how it came to be in the family's possession or where it had come from."

"After extensive research we can say that it is the long lost bronze originally ordered by Lord Burlington during his five-day visit to Florence during his Grand Tour of late 1714 from the sculptor Soldani.

"There is a copy in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, but this was probably done at a later date."

Soldani-Benzi, who was born in 1656 and lived until 1740, was an Italian sculptor and medallist, mainly active in Florence.

Mr Girton said a companion bronze to the one found in the Borders was also made.

"It's out there somewhere and it would be wonderful if the two bronzes could be reunited," he said.

The exact location of the discovery has not been revealed.

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