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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 19:09 GMT 20:09 UK
Goddess sets 8m world record
Venus
Venus: ancient Goddess of love, nature and fertility
An ancient marble statue of Venus has sold for a world record price for an antiquity of nearly 8m.

The Jenkins Venus was only expected to fetch around 3m on Thursday.

It was sold at Christies in London to raise money for a crumbling, grade one listed stable block in North Yorkshire that dates back to the 1780s.

Named after former owner Thomas Jenkins, the Venus was the centrepiece of a collection of ancient sculpture at Newby Hall, near Ripon.


It is very sad The Jenkins Venus had to be sold

Richard Crompton

It was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder for 7,926,650.

Sarah Hornsby, head of antiquities at Christies, said: "We are delighted that the Jenkins Venus has achieved a world record price and thereby helps to secure the future of Newby by raising a significant fund for restoration works."

The statue sold for 200,000 more than the previous world record priced antiquity - the Assyrian Relief which went under the hammer in 1994.

'Crumbling away'

The seductive figure is a Roman copy of the Medici Venus, and is also known as the Barberini Venus.

It represents the sensual aspect of the goddess of love, nature and fertility.

She was known to the Greeks as Aphrodite but later identified as Venus by the Romans.

The hall's owner Richard Compton said: "The magnificent stables are in danger of crumbling away.

"It is very sad that The Jenkins Venus had to be sold but at least my ancestors will be pleased it will go towards further restoration works at Newby."

Mystery sale

The stables were originally commissioned by collector William Weddell, who inherited the hall in 1762.

In 1765, Mr Weddell bought the sculpture from flamboyant banker Thomas Jenkins.

Mr Jenkins, a resident banker to the English in Rome, sold it to him for a sum which was never disclosed.

It is however, believed the price was the highest for any antiquity sent from Rome to England in the 18th century.

The Venus was once part of the celebrated Barberini collection housed in Palazzo Barberini, Rome.


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03 Aug 01 | Entertainment
22 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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