A distinguished pair of Neapolitan bronze saluting cannons from the estate of Giovanni Vincenzo Sanfelice, conte di Bagnoli, the victorious commander of the defence of Salvador da Bahia; dated 1610
From castles and palaces - selected art and works of art from antiquity to the 20th century | A87p | Live auction | 91 Lots
Starting Price € 20,000
The multi-stepped bronze barrels segmented by sturdy bands, with reinforced muzzles. Smooth bore in 36 mm calibre. An appliquéd cartouche at the front of the barrel with a Maltese cross between an egg-and-dart frieze. The chased grips fully sculptured in the shape of dolphins. At the breeches a raised escutcheon bearing the coat of arms of the Sanfelice family with a count's coronet and the date 1610, surrounded by leafy vines. The breech section and cascabel with fine acanthus ornaments in relief. Mounted on 19th century wooden naval carriages with iron fittings and wooden wheels. Length of barrel each 64 cm, overall length 74 cm.
The noble Sanfelice family can be traced back to its roots during the Norman period and was founded in 1080 by Peter Sanfelice. Its ancestral seat, Sanfelice Castle, is in Terra di Lavoro, to the north of Naples. Giovanni Vincenzo Sanfelice (1575 - 1645) joined the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in 1583 and was appointed count of Rhodes in 1609 in recognition of his accomplishments. It is very likely that these cannons were produced especially for the gun salutes at the festivities that took place the following year.
He first served in the army of the Kingdom of Naples, where he commanded a regiment and held the rank of "Maestro die Campo Generale". As commander, he subsequently took part in countless campaigns in the Spanish Netherlands, Flanders and South America. The defence of the Brazilian port Salvador da Bahia against the Dutch in 1638 is considered to be his greatest military achievement.
Condition: II +