Rafaelle Monti (Italian (active in Britain), 1818–1881)
Night, 1862
Statuary Porcelain, height including base, 26 3/4 in.
Signed on back base of cloak left: R Monti. Inscribed and dated on back below signature: Pub May 1862 Copeland N

This rare allegorical statue is made of statuary porcelain, or Parian. The British firm Copeland and Garrett had developed this material around 1845 as an alternative to marble. The catalogue of the 1862 London International Exhibition, which featured Night with its pendant Morning(location unknown), describes the pair as follows:

The very striking and beautiful figures in statuary-porcelain represent “Night” and “Morning” and are models by Monti: they also are evidences of difficulties overcome – difficulties that can be appreciated only by those who understand the process through which such productions must pass (being, moreover of one piece) before they are finished.

Having worked in Milan and Vienna, Monti eventually settled in London where he spent most of his career. Apart from making sculptures in marble, and others cast in various metals, he also became very involved with the applied arts. Not only did he make many strictly Neoclassical sculptures, he also favored a technical virtuosity that guided him towards a more Baroque dynamic, such as the recurring theme of veiled figures.