Alessandro Castellani (Biographical details)

Alessandro Castellani (dealer/auction house; collector; Italian; Male; 1823 - 1883)

Also known as

Castellani, Alessandro


Rome, Paris and Naples, Italy


Alessandro was the eldest son of Fortunato Pio Castellani, founder of the Castellani firm of Roman jewellers best known for their work in the 'archaeological' style. Because he had lost his left hand in a hunting accident at the age of thirteen, he was never able to make jewellery himself but he was a visionary designer and an artistic force until his banishment from Rome in 1860 for his political activities. After that he spent his years in exile in Paris and London promoting the family business and selling antiquities. By 1862 he had moved to Naples where he started his own jewellery business with Giacinto Mellilo (q.v.) and continued selling antiquities. With the fall of the papal government in 1870 and the unification of Italy and the ascendancy to the throne of the house of Savoy, he returned to Rome where he set up his own arts and antiquities gallery. He died in 1883 described in his obituaries as, 'the most successful collector of the remains of ancient art that this generation has seen'. The British Museum acquired major objects from him in 1865 and a larger and more varied collection of material in 1872.


Susan Weber Soros and Stephanie Walker eds., 'Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry', Yale 2004
Geoffrey C Munn, 'Castellani and Guiliano', London 1984
H. Hoffmann, ed. Catalogue des objets d'art antiques, du moyen-âge et de la renaissance dépendant de la succession Alessandro Castellani et dont la vente aura lieu a Rome (Paris: Imprimerie de l'Art, 1884)