King's College London
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The Mond Bequest at King's College London: A Celebration

London and Rome

The PoplarsThe PoplarsThe material and social arrival of Frida and Ludwig Mond was sealed with their acquisition in the 1880s not just of a London seat, but also of a base in Rome. Both have their parts to play in the story of the bequest to King’s.

Their London residence, The Poplars, was an extravagantly decorated mansion in NW3, originally built for a family of aristocratic French emigrés. It was in here that Frida assembled her Goethe and Schiller relics, and regularly displayed them to friends and fellow devotees in the English Goethe Society. And it was in the front hall of The Poplars that the two statues, of Sappho and Sophocles, had stood for many years before their presentation to the College.

Palazzo ZuccariPalazzo ZuccariIt was however in Rome that they had acquired the two statues in the first place. Here, their base was the Palazzo Zuccari, situated at the intersection of Via Sistina and Via Gregoriana, near the top of the Spanish Steps and the church of S. Trinità dei Monti.

Palazzo Zuccari interiorPalazzo Zuccari interiorThe Palazzo had a long history of connections with visitors from the North, going back to its builder, the artist Taddeo Zuccari (1529-66).

The Monds first rented an apartment within it, from 1888 to 1904, then in 1904 bought the building outright from the Zuccari heirs, in the name of Henrietta Hertz (who was herself subsequently to donate it to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft, as the seat of an art-historical research institute, now the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft’s Bibilotheca Hertziana).

In the Palazzo, the Monds and Miss Hertz gathered a second circle of friends and clients that matched and overlapped with their London set. This Rome circle included the sculptors of the two statues, also Northern European expatriates, the Austrian Ferdinand Seeboeck and the German Constantin Dausch.

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