The Venice in Peril Fund is a UK charity which since 1971 has raised funds for some 50 conservation projects in Venice ranging from individual works of art to entire churches for the benefit of everyone who cherishes the city and offers its supporters opportunities to donate to this work. It also shares its knowledge through a programme of lectures publications and other events.
While focussing on specific conservation projects the Fund maintains its concern for the wider environmental issues affecting the city and the lagoon. As the British Committee for the Safeguarding of Venice it is one of 24 international committees working with UNESCO in this World Heritage site.
Some of the projects:
ACCADEMIA GALLERIES- PALLADIO WING ROOMS
Venice in Peril Fund has joined with Venice International Foundation to finance the final fit out and hang of seven new rooms in the new Palladio wing of the Accademia Galleries, which are due to open to the public on Saturday 30 January. The sequence of spaces will tell the story of the dynamic early 19th century history of the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice and exhibits will include casts and original models by Antonio Canova (see below Canova’s Rezzonico Lions: Restoration of plaster casts) and the Cattedra Cicognara (see below) installed in the Tablino, the last in the sequence of the new rooms. While the full-scale plaster versions of Canova’s statues of Paris and The Boxer dominate the room, the bust of Leopolda Cicognara, and the desk and chair – Cattedra Cicognara – he commissioned make the Tablino convincingly evocative of the post-Napoleonic Venetian Academy.
The President of the Accademia’s Empire style official chair and table described together as the ‘Cattedra Cicognara’ are key pieces of Venetian furniture for the history of the Accademia and for Venice in the post-Napoleonic era. They were made when Leopoldo Cicognara was its President between 1806-27, in which role he also raised funds from across Europe for the Cenotaph to Antonio Canova in the Basilica of the Frari, a major Venice in Peril Fund project.
The Cattedra Cicognara was designed by Giuseppe Borsato in 1771 and is illustrated as the frontispiece for his book of designs Opera Ornamentale of 1831.
The Cattedra Cicognara, which had been in storage in the Accademia and was in urgent need of conservation, was restored during the latter half of 2015 in the Milan studio of restorer Luca Quartana. It needed structural repair, consoliation and conservation of the frames, replacement of missing carved ornament and mounts on the chair and table. The furniture is made of walnut with carving and gilt mounts and the table has porphyry inserts at each end. It is now back at the Accademia and installed in the Tablino, the Palladio interior and the last in the sequence of new rooms opening on 30 January 2016 (see above).
RESTORATION OF CANOVA’S REZZONICO LIONS
Winged Figure with Elephant
In the third courtyard of the Procuratie Nuove, Piazza San Marco, facing a staircase leading to the apartments of the ex-Palazzo Reale, an allegorical stone sculpture of a winged female figure with a small elephant can be seen. After years of exposure to the elements, both figures were cracked and covered with mossy green algae. Following a request from the Venetian authorities, Venice in Peril raised the funds for restorative treatment and conservation, at a cost of approximately £10,000 and the work has now been completed.
The provenance of this appealing work, believed to be of the 17th century, is something of a mystery, because no records have yet been found to indicate how long it has been installed there. Nor is it listed in the catalogue of sculptures from the Correr collection, which were stored in the Fondaco dei Turchi from 1887 and subsequently moved back to the Archaeological Museum, Piazza San Marco, in 1922.
Following analysis of samples of the algae at the Misericordia laboratory in Cannaregio, the restoration work which took place last year (2014) was directed for the Superintendency by Annalisa Bristot, assisted by Lucia Bassotto.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE AND/OR GET INVOLVED
If you have enjoyed your time in Venice and experienced its magic you might be interested in supporting the conservation work of Venice in Peril Fund. You can do this in a number of ways, by becoming a Friend of Venice in Peril Fund, by subscribing to their e-newsletter or by donating to a particular project.
Registered Charity no. 262146