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Statuette - Victory or Fame from the monument to Admiral Vernon
  • Victory or Fame from the monument to Admiral Vernon
    Rysbrack, John Michael
  • Enlarge image

Victory or Fame from the monument to Admiral Vernon

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rysbrack, John Michael (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Modelled terracotta

  • Museum number:

    A.1-1969

  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 22, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries, case 1

This is the model for the allegorical figure on the marble monument to Admiral Vernon (1684-1757) in Westminster Abbey. In the monument, Fame (or perhaps Victory) is running to crown the admiral's head with a wreath of laurels. The pose echoes that of both the Discobolus, a famous ancient sculpture of a discuss-thrower, as well as that of the so-called Borghese Gladiator; a life-size Greek sculpture of a swordsman found at Ephesus (in present day Turkey) which was much admired and copied in the 18th century (there are copies at Windsor Castle, Petworth House, and Houghton Hall, for instance).

Rysbrack (1694-1770) was born in Antwerp, and trained in the Netherlands, but spent his working life in Britain. He was one of the most important sculptors active in this country in the first half of the 18th century, and specialised in portrait busts and funerary monuments. Although he never visited Italy, many of his works are clearly indebted to classical archetypes. His terracotta models are particularly fine, and are often virtually finished pieces in their own right.

Physical description

This female figure steps forward with her right leg, her left arm (now broken) held aloft. It is the model for the figure on the marble monument to Admiral Vernon (1684-1757) in Westminster Abbey. In the monument Fame is running to crown the admiral's head with a wreath of laurels.The pose echoes that of the Hellenistic sculpture, the so-called Borghese Gladiator (Katharine Eustace, 'Rysbrack' exh. cat., Bristol City Art Gallery, 1982, p. 182) as well as the Discobolus.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1760 (made)

Artist/maker

Rysbrack, John Michael (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Modelled terracotta

Marks and inscriptions

' Michl: Rysbrack. fecit 1760'
Signed on the base to one side

Dimensions

Height: 58.1 cm

Object history note

This is the model for the figure on the marble monument to Admiral Vernon (1684-1757) in Westminster Abbey. In the monument Fame is running to crown the admiral's head with a wreath of laurels. The pose echoes that of the ancient sculpture the Discobolous or Borghese Gladiator (Katharine Eustace, 'Rysbrack' exh. cat., Bristol City Art Gallery, 1982, p. 182).
Purchased by the Museum via private sale through Sotheby's, for £3000; the model had been included in their 28 November 1968 sale, the property of Mrs Edna J. Harrie, lot 87; purchased with assistance from the Francis Reubell Bryan Bequest and the Hildburgh Bequest.
In a letter from the vendor of the present piece to Howard Ricketts at Sotheby's, Mrs Harrie recorded that the figure once belonged to the sculptor Peter Hollins. Her uncle, himself a sculptor as a young man took over the studio, equipment, various carvings & busts and the terracotta figure from this Birmingham sculptor, named Peter Hollins.

Descriptive line

Statuette, terracotta, Victory or Fame, by John Rysbrack, 1760

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

D. Bilbey and M. Trusted, British Sculpture 1470-2000, London, 2002, cat. no. 195 on pp. 141-2.
Whinney, Margaret, (revised by J. Physick) Sculpture in Britain 1530 to 1830, London, 1988, p. 456, note 12.
White, A, 'Rupert Gunnis and his Dictionary of British Sculptors', Sculptutr Journal, 16, 1, 2007, fig. 16 on p. 70.
Eustace, K, Michael Rysbrack Sculptor 1694- 1770, City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, 1982, pp. 182-4, illus. fig, 88, p. 183.
Webb, M. Michael Rysbrack Sculptor, London, 1954, p. 226
Physick, J. Designs for English Sculpture 1680-1860, London, 1969, p. 109

Materials

Terracotta

Techniques

Modelled

Categories

Sculpture; Myths & Legends

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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