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Design - A Study for an Unidentified Monument
  • A Study for an Unidentified Monument
    Nollekens, Joseph Frans, born 1737 - died 1823
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A Study for an Unidentified Monument

  • Object:

    Design

  • Place of origin:

    London (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1766 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nollekens, Joseph Frans, born 1737 - died 1823 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chalk and wash on laid paper

  • Museum number:

    E.471:1-2010

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case A, shelf 190

This design made in about 1766 by Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823) depicts a woman suckling a baby with her arm hanging over a funerary urn and with a child at her feet on a sarcophagus or a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The design is for a funeral monument for an unknown woman. It suggests that she died perhaps in childbirth along with her baby. A portrait medallion of the woman is faintly visible on the sarcophagus that supports this group. Nollekens is best known as the leading portrait sculptor in Britain between 1770 and 1815. With his fellow Royal Academicians Thomas Banks and John Flaxman he established the British School of sculpture following decades of dependence on immigrant sculptors (such as Rysbrack, Scheemakers and Roubiliac). Flaxman praised Nollekens as the only sculptor before Banks who had "formed his taste on the antique and introduced a purer style of art". The opportunities to study the antique were plentiful whilst Nollekens lived for eight years from 1762-1770 in Rome. As a draughtsman he was exceptionally well trained for his day.

Physical description

Design depicting woman suckling baby and arm hanging over a funerary urn on a sarcophagus. On the back of the sheet of paper is a sketch [E.471:2-2010].

Place of Origin

London (possibly, made)

Date

ca. 1766 (made)

Artist/maker

Nollekens, Joseph Frans, born 1737 - died 1823 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Chalk and wash on laid paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Sotherbies [sic] 27 March, 69. Property of Mrs. M. Hill. / Lot.275. Joseph Nollekens. A Study for an unidentified Monument, / depicting a female figure seated on a sarcophagus and resting / her arm on an urn; a child on her lap and another at her feet, / the portrait medallion faintly visible on the sarcophagus.'
Typed on label on inside of mount beneath design

Dimensions

Height: 26.5 cm, Width: 16.7 cm

Object history note

Historical significance: 'Nollekens is best known as the leading portrait sculptor in Britain between 1770 and 1815, and as the subject of the biography Nollekens and his Times (1828) by J.T. Smith. With his fellow Royal Academicians Thomas Banks and John Flaxman he established the British School of sculpture following decades of dependence on immigrant sculptors (such as Rysbrack, Scheemakers and Roubiliac). Flaxman praised Nollekens as the only sculptor before Banks who had "formed his taste on the antique and introduced a purer style of art". As a draughtsman he was exceptionally well trained for his day. He is also noted as a collector; he owned the three wax reliefs by Giambologna now in the V&A. The V&A's collection includes three busts by Nollekens, five of his terracottas, his marble copy after the antique, Castor and Pollux (1767)and his original marble of Diana (1778).'

Julius Bryant on RF 2010/245.

Historical context note

In the ca. 2009 edition of Gunnis's Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, design is identified as 'Sackler priv. col.'

Descriptive line

Design for sculpture by Joseph Nollekens, ca. 1766.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Roscoe, Ingrid, Hardy, Emma, Sullivan, M. G. A biographical dictionary of sculptors in England, 1660-1851. New Haven [Conn.]; London: Yale University Press, c.2009. pp.896-911.

Materials

Chalk; Wash; Laid paper

Techniques

Drawing; Painting

Subjects depicted

Sepulchral monuments; Sarcophagus

Categories

Sculpture; Designs; Death

Production Type

Design

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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