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Figure - Maria, Mrs Henry Howard of Corby Castle, Cumberland and her child
  • Maria, Mrs Henry Howard of Corby Castle, Cumberland and her child
    Nollekens, Joseph Frans, born 1737 - died 1823
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Maria, Mrs Henry Howard of Corby Castle, Cumberland and her child

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1803 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 24, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries, case 2

Wordsworth was so moved by the monument that he wrote a sonnet about it.
This is a sketch model for a marble monument of Mrs Howard, who died in childbirth, in 1788. Some years later her husband commissioned a marble monument in her memory for the large sum of £1500. It was erected in Wetheral Church, Cumberland in 1803. This terracotta appeared in the sale of Nollekens's studio effects held on 4 July, 1823, and was bought by the sculptor Peter Rouw.

Nollekens was a prolific sculptor of portrait busts and operated a thriving workshop in London. He spent eight years in Rome, from 1762 to 1770, where he worked with Bartolomeo Cavaceppi restoring and copying antique marbles. One of these copies, his group of Castor and Pollux, is in the Museum's collection (Museum no. A.59-1940). He probably perfected his modelling of clay while he was in Rome and started to experiment in making small figures or groups. These occasionally became models for large-scale finished marbles, but many, still in his studio at his death, were simply studies in their own right, which he called pensieri (thoughts).

Physical description

Model in terracotta for the monument in Wetheral Church, Cumberland. Mrs Howard recline supported by her left arm which rests on a cushion. In her right hand she holds her new-born child.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1800-1803 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques



Length: 24.6 cm overall, Width: 10.5 cm overall, Height: 13.2 cm

Object history note

This terracotta together with A.6, 7, 8, 9 and 10- 1944 were formerly in the possession of Mrs C.H Smith (nee Fanny Riviere b. 1813), the grandmother of the donor. A seventh figure, a standing man is in the property of Mrs C.A. Cater and has been promised to the Museum as a bequest. Mrs C.H Smith in a memoir called 'Letter to Gordon' and addressed to her grandson, when she was 79, refers to her 'many' terracottas by Nollekens but does not state how they were acquired. The donor in a letter dated 31/03/1944 states 'I can vouch for the fact that Nollekens himself gave them to my Grandmother Mrs C.H. Smith. They were near neighbours- my Grandmother then living at No. 8 Cirencester Place, Fitzroy Square, from about 1813 to 1834.'

Descriptive line

Figure, sketch model, terracotta, Maria, Mrs Henry Howard of Corby Castle, Cumberland and her child, by Joseph Nollekens, England, ca. 1800-3

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

Kenworthy- Browne, J. 'Terracotta Models by Joseph Nollekens, R.A' The Sculpture Journal, pp.72-84, ill. p.81
Whinney, M. English Sculpture 1720-1830, HMSO, 1971, p.120
Bilbey, Diane with Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V& A Publications, 2002. pp. 103-4. cat. no. 142
no. 414
The Age of Neo-Classicism, London : Arts Council of Great Britain, 1972



Subjects depicted





Sculpture Collection

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