A lovely Roman marble bust that film director, Franco Zeffirrelli gave as a wedding gift to friends who worked with him on the filming of 'The Taming of the Shrew' will be sold at Bonhams
next Antiquities Sale in London on April 28th.
Dating from the second century AD the Roman herm head traditionally used on the top of a pillar, is estimated to sell for £7,000 to £9,000. A wonderful photo of the bride and groom taken at their wedding with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Zeffirelli will be sold with the bust they received from the film director.
A herm is a sculpted image of a god, thought to be originally Hermes. It stood in doorways, gardens or by the wayside for the protection of orchards and vineyards. There is also evidence that such an image was used in the performance of the sacred marriage ritual in the Dionysiac mysteries connected with purification and fertility.
The filming of the 'Taming of the Shrew' in Rome in 1967 brought all these creative people together in a project that was critically acclaimed.
'The Taming of the Shrew' is a 1967 feature film based on a play by William Shakespeare about a courtship between two strong-willed people. The film was directed by Franco Zeffirelli and stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as Shakespeare's Kate and Petruchio.
Taylor and Burton put over a million dollars into the production, and instead of a salary, took a percentage of profits. The film was originally a vehicle for Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.
The film had two Academy Award nominations, for Best Costume Design, and Best Art Direction (Lorenzo Mongiardino, John DeCuir, Elven Webb, Giuseppe Mariani, Dario Simoni, Luigi Gervasi).
It also had two BAFTA Award nominations for Best British Actor (Richard Burton), and Best British Actress (Elizabeth Taylor).
Madeline Perridge, a specialist in the Antiquities Department at Bonhams, says: This charming 1,800 year old bust has had a fascinating and romantic recent history with its link to this film. Selected by the Zeffirelli eye as a fitting wedding present for friends and its association with Taylor and Burton, all adds to its strange and wonderful provenance.