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Model - A Dying Hero

A Dying Hero

  • Object:

    Model

  • Place of origin:

    Rome (Banks and Sergel both worked in Rome in the 1770s., made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1772 - ca. 1779 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Banks, Thomas RA (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Terracotta

  • Museum number:

    A.11-1963

  • Gallery location:

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

The reclining figure and the subject matter are closely related to a plaster model by Thomas Banks, The Dying Patriot, in Sir John Soane's Museum. The subject matter of the dying hero was one used by Banks in a number of works. The present piece could have been one of those terracottas executed by Banks whilst in Rome (1772-9), which remained in his studio after his death. His daughter Lavinia Forster recorded, 'All the terracottas were models made by my father in Italy, and are valuable to me' [Bell, 1938, p. 196]. This terracotta has recently been ascribed to the Swedish sculptor Johan Tobias Sergel (1740-1814), who was also working in Rome in the 1770s. This attribution remains uncertain though plausible, since both sculptors worked in a closely comparable neo-classical manner.

Thomas Banks (1735-1805) was apprenticed to a London mason, but also spent time working alongside the sculptor Peter Scheemakers (1691-1781). He enrolled in the life classes held at the St Martin's Lane Academy, and later at the Royal Academy Schools. In 1772 he became the first sculptor to win the Royal Academy's three-year travelling stipend, and went with his wife to Rome, where he eventually spent seven years. He specialised in ideal works, most of which were executed in Rome for British patrons, although he continued to produce similar work after his return to London. He was made a Royal Academician in 1786. Banks was one of the most original British Neo-classical sculptors, who dedicated his work to the antique spirit rather than to the fashionable classical style alone.. He tried to establish a market for modern gallery sculpture , which was particular for most patrons at the time preferred restored antique marbles, replicas, pastiches, busts and memorials.

Physical description

The naked helmeted warrior lies on his right side, on top of his oval shield, which is pillowed by a rock. With his left hand he grasps the edge of the shield. In his right is the handle of his sword. On the front edge of the base is a small, roughly incised, design representing a helmet.

Place of Origin

Rome (Banks and Sergel both worked in Rome in the 1770s., made)

Date

ca. 1772 - ca. 1779 (made)

Artist/maker

Banks, Thomas RA (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Terracotta

Dimensions

Width: 15.9 cm, Length: 33.3 cm

Object history note

Formerly in the possession of Messrs Peel and Humphris Ltd. Bought by the Museum from Michael Ricketts Esq, 19 Emperor's Gate, London in 1963, for £85.

Historical significance: The reclining figure and the subject matter are closely related to a plaster model by the sculptor, The Dying Patriot, in Sir John Soane's Museum. The subject matter of the dying hero was one used by Banks in a number of works. The present piece could have been one of those terracottas exectued by Banks whilst in Rome (1772-9), which remained in his studio after his death. His daughter Lavinia Forster recorded, 'All the terracottas were models made by my father in Italy, and are valuable to me'.

Descriptive line

Model, terracotta, a dying warrior, ascribed to Thomas Banks, English ca. 1772-1779, or perhaps Johan Tobias Sergel

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

Bilbey, Diane and Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470-2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2002, p. 53, cat. no. 75
Bryant, Julius (ed.), Thomas Banks 1735-1805. Britain's first Modern Sculptor, exhib. cat., The Soane Gallery, London, 2005, cat. 20, on p. 32
Bell, C.F., Annals of Thomas Banks. Sculptor. Royal Academician, Cambridge, 1938

Materials

Terracotta

Techniques

Modelled

Subjects depicted

Warrior

Categories

Sculpture; Death

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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