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Sarcophagus - Sarcophagus with effigy of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
  • Sarcophagus with effigy of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875
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Sarcophagus with effigy of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1857 (designed)
    1867-1868 (made)
    1867-1868 (made)
    1857 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This sarcophagus and effigy, together with the groups of the 'Valour and Cowardice' and 'Truth and Falsehood' are the full scale models for the Wellington Monument. The actual monument was not completed until 1912, thirty-seven eyars after Steven's death. The vendor Alfred Pegler was a long-standing friend of Stevens. Pegler was keen for the Museum to accept this collection of models in its entirety.

A sculptor, designer and painter, Alfred Stevens (1817/18-1875) rejected contemporary distinctions between fine art and design. From 1850 to 1857 he was chief designer to Hoole & Co., Sheffield, where he produced award-winning designs for metalwork, majolica, terracotta ornaments and chimney-pieces. Perhaps his two greatest works were the decorations for the dining-room at Dorchester House, London (about 1856), for which he made countless drawings inspired by the Italian High Renaissance style, in particular the work of Michelangelo and the monument to the Duke of Wellington for St Paul's Cathedral, London, which was completed after his death. The two allegorical groups from this monument made a lasting impact on the New Sculpture movement. The influence of the Italian Renaissance is evident in much of Steven's work, and is perhaps best reflected in the Wellington monument.

Physical description

Portions of the design for the monument to F.M. the Duke of Wellington, erected in St. Paul's Cathedral by Alfred Stevens. They comprise the sarcophagus with bier and recumbent effigy, the group representing Truth and Falsehood, and the other group representing Valour and Cowardice.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1857 (designed)
1867-1868 (made)
1867-1868 (made)
1857 (designed)


Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

Materials and Techniques



Length: 320 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Alfred Pegler Esq., Matbush Lodge, Old Shirley, Southhampton, together with the other portions of the full-size model for the Wellington Monument (Mus. Nos. 321:A-1878 and 321:B-1878) for £150.

Descriptive line

Sarcophagus, plaster, with effigy of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, by Alfred Stevens, England, designed 1857, made 1867-8

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, pp. 375, 6, cat.no. 577
Brown, F. P. London Sculpture. Oxford, 1934, p. 70, illus.
Physick, J., The Wellington Monument, London, 1970, pls. 52-5 om pp. 72-3
Read, B., Victorian Sculpture, New Haven and Yale, 1982, p. 29 and fig. 20



Subjects depicted



Sculpture; Death; Politics


Sculpture Collection

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