Unknown (Italian, 19thcentury?)
Rebecca at the Well (c.1870?)
Marble, 77 cm high
Purchased, 1876
State Library of Victoria (H2008.44)

In its somewhat alluring treatment of the Old Testament subject, this statuette typifies the period, and is comparable with other later 19th-century examples, such as the larger-scale statues by C.F. Summers in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, which also included a Rebekah.

The SLV catalogue describes the present work as “possibly a product of the flourishing Italian sculpture studios of the 19th century, which particularly served the tourist market.”

For another pre-Felton image based on this story (in Genesis ch.24), see Rousselet after Poussin Eliezer and Rebecca 1677 {1879} NGV [EN]. See also Goodall (F.) Rachel going to the Well 1867 {1867} NGV [PA].


AR 1876, p.42; SB, p.68 (Sculpture), indicating that the work was bought from a James Campbell on 30/12/1876;  NGV 1880, p.3 (under ‘Statuettes’); NGV 1894, p.131 (VI.Rotunda, no.27); NGV 1905, p.156 (VI.Sculpture [Verdon Gallery), no.16) [£60]

The reproduction shown here appeared in the catalogue of the exhibition “Free, Secular and Democratic: the Melbourne Public Library 1853-1913” (SLV, 31 May 2013 – 5 Feb.2014), available online

For C.F.Summers’ works in Ballarat, see Radford  Early Australian Sculpture (1976), unpaginated (including several reproductions)