Requires Photography


about 1805
Carlo Prizzi (Italian)


49 1/2 x 72 1/2 x 14 1/4

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Carrara marble

Not On View


Decorative arts

Mantelpiece with two female caryatids in high-waisted Roman costume flanking the fireplace opening and supporting a lintel with a projecting central tablet carved with classical goddesses. On either side are female heads with headdresses and trailing acanthus fronds enclosing rosettes.


1805, commissioned through Thomas Appleton (b. 1763 – d. 1840), Livorno, by Thomas Perkins for John Joy (b. 1751 – d. 1813), Boston, and, in 1806, installed in Joy Mansion on Beacon Hill (present-day 34 ½ Beacon Street) [see note 1]; Joy Mansion passed by inheritance to his widow, Abigail Green Joy (b. 1760 – d. 1843); 1833, Joy Mansion was dismantled and relocated, but the mantelpiece remained and was incorporated into the design of the new house by Israel Thorndike, Jr. (b. 1785 – d. 1867); 1838, Thorndike sold the house to Robert Gould Shaw (b. 1776 – d. 1853); 1853, Shaw’s heirs sold the house to Frederick Tudor (b. 1783 – d. 1864); 1885, Tudor’s heirs sold the house to David Nevins, Jr. (b. 1839 – d. 1898); between 1885 and 1887, the house was torn down and the mantelpiece was incorporated into Tudor Apartments, the nine-story apartment house built at the same address [see note 2]; 1957, Tudor Apartments was sold by Nevins’s heirs to the Family Service Association of Greater Boston and was later converted into condominiums; between about 1999 and 2001, the mantelpiece was acquired privately by homeowners in the building, and subsequently moved to a townhouse at Mount Vernon Place, Boston; 2012, sold by the private owners to Heidi Pribell Interiors, Cambridge, MA; 2017, sold by Heidi Pribell to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 18, 2017)

[1] On the commission, see Philipp Fehl, “The Account Book of Thomas Appleton of Livorno,” Winterthur Portfolio 9 (1974), p. 138. [2] On the history of the property, see Robert E. Guarino, Beacon Street: Its Buildings and Residents (Charleston, SC, 2011), pp. 87-90.

Credit Line

John Lowell Gardner Fund, Charles Amos Cummings Fund, Jane Marsland and Judith A. Marsland Fund, H. E. Bolles Fund, Tamara Petrosian Davis Sculpture Fund, funds by exchange from The Helena Woolworth McCann Collection—Gift of the Winfield Foundation, and partial gift of Heidi M. Pribell