This exquisite group, probably by an expatriate North German craftsman after Bernini (1598-1680), sits on an ebonised base with ivory reliefs of Perseus and the dragon and swags of fruit; height overall, 41.9cm, width, 24cm.
The subject is the beautiful Daphne, daughter of the river god Peneus, who ran from the unwelcome amorous approaches of the god Apollo.
Daphne called to her father for help and he saved her by turning her into a laurel bush.
The purchase of the piece, for 60 crowns, by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) was recorded in 1681 in the notes of his steward Culpepper Tanner.
It was recorded again by him in the 1688 Burghley Inventory as in: ‘My Lady’s Clossett……A Daphne & Apollo in Ivory on a pedistall of Ebony & Carved by —‘.