Where did this great "find" happen? Believe it or not, on FaceBook. One of my FaceBook friends, the Australian dealer Barrie Cathcart, posted their photo, and the rest is history.
Both Apollo and Venus are bedecked in delicious enamels--meltingly soft--and considerable thought went into all the details. Look at the lovely wreaths on the deities heads. And yes, the same rather girly head seems to have been used for both figures.
This humble plaque and I have a history. I fell in love with it in 2008, when I visited the home of the dealer Bill Shaeffer. As I entered the door it caught my eye--but Bill was not wanting to part with it. This year, his estate was auctioned, and it became my turn to acquire the plaque and enjoy Diana on my wall. Notice the smudge in the paint at ten o'clock. It's the painter's finger print!
Classical figures are easy to find, but not necessarily on the shelf of your favorite dealer. Dealers tend to focus on those bull baitings, weddings, christenings, and the like. They deem these subjects more "commercial", The secret is that classical figures (which are often earlier and finer than the so-called "whimsical" or "naive figures that dealers hone in on) are ridiculously underpriced because the trade, in its ignorance, often ignores them.
PS: James Hall's Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art, an inexpensive paperback, is my go-to reference for the low-down on classical figures