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Model - Model for the monument to John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich
  • Model for the monument to John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich
    Roubiliac, Louis-François, born 1702 - died 1762
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Model for the monument to John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1745 (dated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Roubiliac, Louis-François, born 1702 - died 1762 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Terracotta, with later slate backing

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 52, The George Levy Gallery, case 2

Object Type
This is a terracotta model for the marble monument to John, Duke of Argyll, erected in the south transept of Westminster Abbey. The scale at the bottom indicate that this was the model associated with the contract for the monument, a commission awarded to Roubiliac by the Duke's widow in 1745, the date inscribed on the model. The monument itself was completed four years later. Although several preparatory drawings for the monument survive, this model gives a particularly vivid idea on a small-scale of the dramatic composition of the finished memorial. Some relatively minor changes were made, for example, details of the Duke's pose, but in essence the composition remained the same.

John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll (1680-1743), had both a military and political career, first achieving distinction when fighting under the Duke of Marlborough in Flanders during the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713). He also played an important role in helping to suppress the Jacobite attempt in 1715 to place Charles Stuart, the Old Pretender, on the British throne. Argyll was famed as an orator, hence one of the two allegorical figures on the lower part of his tomb (seen also in the model) is Eloquence, her arm outstretched to silence her audience. The other figure - helmeted and bearing a shield - is Minerva, goddess of wisdom. The Muse of History is in the course of writing an inscription on the pyramid behind.

Materials & Making
The monument for which this served as a model was much admired at the time. Horace Walpole described the figure of Eloquence, seen here striding forward at the lower left-hand side of the model, as 'very masterly and graceful', and the great Italian sculptor Antonio Canova, on his visit to Britain in 1815, thought it one of the finest staues he had seen in England. The 18th-century engraver and writer on art, George Vertue, wrote in his Notebooks that the carving of Eloquence's draperies was 'truely natural and excels all others in skill ... really more like silk than Marble'.

Physical description

Terracotta model for the monument to John Duke of Argyll and Greenwich in Westminster Abbey. The Duke wearing classical armour reclines on a sarcophagus, his left arm resting on the knee of the Muse of History, who stands on the sarcophagus (right). She holds in her left hand a book on which is written: 'NATUS DIE 10 mensis / 8 MDCXXX / OBIIT DIE / 3 mensis 8 MDCCXLIII'; the book rests on a cannon ball. With her right hand she writes on a pyramid that forms the background of the monument. Part of the cannon is visible behind the Duke (left). The base of the sarcophagus is adorned with sword, baton, coronet, and Garter. Below the sarcophagus a relief shows two putti presenting a sword and shield to Liberty. Another putto holds a scroll. Flanking the relief are (left) Eloquence standing with right arm extended and a caduceus (lower part missing) in her left and (right) Minerva seated with a shield on which is a medallion portrait and the words 'ON POMPEIUS'. She may have originally held a lance, as in the V&A drawing and the finished monument. Behind Eloquence is another medallion portrait with an inscription in Greek. Below Eloquence is an incised signature: 'L.F. Roubiliac in et fecit 1745'.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1745 (dated)


Roubiliac, Louis-François, born 1702 - died 1762 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Terracotta, with later slate backing

Marks and inscriptions

'L.F. Roubiliac in et fecit 1745'
Signature; date; 1745

'NATUS DIE 10 mensis / 8 MDCXXX / OBIIT DIE / 3 mensis 8 MDCCXLIII'
She holds in her left hand a book on which is written

Minerva seated with a shield on which is a medallion portrait and the words


Height: 92 cm with base, Width: 52 cm with base, Depth: 21 cm with base

Object history note

Modelled in England by Louis-François Roubiliac (born in Lyon, France, 1702, died in London, 1762)

Descriptive line

Model, terracotta against modern slate backing, for the monument to John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich in Westminster Abbey, by Louis François Roubiliac, England, 1745

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

Williamson, Paul. ed. European Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum London. 1996. pp. 157
Whinney, M. (revised by J. Physick) Sculpture in Britain 1530 to 1830. London. 1988. pp. 205
Bindman, D. and Baker, M. Roubiliac and the Eighteenth Century Monument. New haven. 1995. pp. 236 and fig. 200 and pp. 292-4. fig. 249 and 250.
Baker, M. 'Roubiliac's models and Eighteenth century English sculptors' working practices' in Volk, P. ed. Entwurf und Ansführung in der europäischen Barockplastik. Munich. 1986. pp. 59-60. pp.63. fig. 2-5 and 15.
Baker, Malcolm. 'Roubiliac's Argyll mounment and the interpretation of Eighteenth century sculptor's designs'. Burlington Magazine. CXXXIV. December 1992. pp. 785-797 and fig. 26
Penny, N. Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum. II. Oxofrod. 1992. pp. 111.
Baker, M. 'Limewood, Chimancy and narratives of Making. Writing about the materials and processes of Sculpture.' Art History. Vol. 21. No. 4. pp. 518-26 and fig. 18 on pp. 524
Baker, Maloclm. Figured in Marble. The Making and Viewing of Eighteenth Century Sculpture London. 2000. pp. 43. fig. 32 and pp. 42-3
Bilbey, Diane and Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London. 2002. pp. 120. cat. no. 164
Brinckmann, A.E.Barock- Bozzetti. Niederländische und Französische Bildhauser. III. Frankfurt- am- Main. 1925. pp.110 and pl. 61
Esdaile, K.A. The Life and Work of Louis François Roubiliac. Oxford and London. 1928. pp. 62-3, 65 and n. 3, pl. XVI.
Victoria and Albert Museum. Fifty Masterpieces of Sculpture. London. 1951. pp. 88
Physick, J. 'Some Eighteenth Century designs for monuments in Westminster Abbey'. Victoria and Albert Museum Bulletin III. no.1. Jan 1967. pp. 33. fig. 11
Physick, J. Designs for English Sculpture 1680- 1860. London. 1969. pp. 119
Davies, A. Dictionary of British Portraiture. The Middle Ages to the Early Georgians- historical figures born before 1700. I. London. 1979. pp.3
Eustace, K. Michael Rysbrack Sculptor 1694- 1770. City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Bristol. London 1982. pp.132
Galvin, C. The Construction of Roubiliac's Shelburn and Argyll models. Burlington Magazine. CXXXII. December 1990. pp. 849-50
Bindman, D and Baker, M. Roubiliac and the Eighteenth Century Monument. Sculpture as Theatre. New Haven and London. 1995. pp.236, 292-4 and fig. 200, 248-50
List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1888 London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1889. pp.3
Buttress, Donald and Thomas Cocke, 900 Years: The Restorations of Westminster Abbey, London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1995.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Portraits often formed an important part of the costly monuments commissioned in 18th-century Britain. This model is for a tomb in Westminster Abbey. It shows the Duke (who died in1743) in Roman armour, flanked by a figure of Eloquence and the classical goddess, Minerva, representing his qualities as an orator and a soldier. [27/03/2003]


Terracotta; Slate


Ph_survey; British Galleries; Sculpture; Death; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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