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A Study for an Unidentified Monument

  • Object:

    Design

  • Place of origin:

    London (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1770s-1780s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chalk on laid paper

  • Museum number:

    E.461:2-2010

  • Gallery location:

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

Design depicting a winged genius, or guardian spirit in Roman mythology, leaning sorrowfully against a funerary urn. On the front of the sheet of paper is a sketch for a plainer version of the monument [E.461:2-2010]. This design made in the 1770s or 1780s by Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823) is for a wall monument for an unidentified person. 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". 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 a genius leaning sorrowfully against a funerary urn. On the front of the sheet of paper is a plainer sketch for the monument.

Place of Origin

London (possibly, made)

Date

1770s-1780s (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Chalk on laid paper

Marks and inscriptions

'SOTHERBY [sic] 27 March 69. Property of Mrs M. HILL'
In blue ballpoint pen at top of printed label on inside of mount. Sackler no.

'283 / JOSEPH NOLLEKENS / A STUDY FOR AN UNIDENTIFIED MONUMENT, [...] / ANOTHER STUDY for a similar Monument, black chalk, verso.'
Printed label on inside of mount beneath design

'80.7.30 a&b'
In pencil at bottom of inside mount.

Dimensions

Height: 26.1 cm, Width: 19.2 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, 1770s-1780s.

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

Laid paper; Chalk

Techniques

Drawing

Subjects depicted

Sepulchral monuments; Sarcophagus

Categories

Sculpture; Designs; Death

Production Type

Design

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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