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Hero dying in the arms of victory - A Hero dying in the arms of Victory
  • A Hero dying in the arms of Victory
    Nollekens, Joseph Frans, born 1737 - died 1823
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A Hero dying in the arms of Victory

  • Object:

    Hero dying in the arms of victory

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    late eighteenth century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 22, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries, case 2

This is a model for a monument to Lord Robert Manners, a naval captain who died in 1782 at age 24, in a battle against the French in the West Indies. The figure of Victory seen here was said to be modelled on the beautiful Duchess of Rutland, the sister-in-law of the deceased hero. This terracotta was a preliminary study ofr a monument intended for the garden of the Rutland country estate, which was in fact never executed.

Nollekens produced another monument dedicated to Lord Manners and two of his fellow captains, in Westminster Abbey; it was commissioned by the Duke of Rutland and is known as the Monument to the Three Captains.

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

Terracotta model, A Hero dying in the arms of Victory. A young man, semi-recumbent, leans on his right arm. Victory, who is winged, bends over him. With her right hand she supports the dying man; with her left she hands him a palm. The wings of Victory are modelled separatedly and pinned to the body.

Place of Origin

England (made)


late eighteenth century (made)


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

Materials and Techniques



Height: 8.375 in

Object history note

This terracotta is a first sketch for the design exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1790 'Lord Robert Manners expiring in the arms of Victory, intended by the late Duke of Rutland for a monument to be placed in the chapel at Belvoir Castle. The monument was never executed but Lord Robert Manners had already been commemorated by a medallion portrait on Nolleken's monument to three Captains, (Bayne, Blair and Manners) in Westminster Abbey.

Descriptive line

Terracotta model, Hero dying in the arms of Victory, Nollekens, Lord Robert Manners

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

Whinney, M, English Sculpture 1720-1830, HMSO, 1971, p. 114.
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. 102-3. cat. no. 139.



Subjects depicted



Sculpture Collection

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