Henry IV destroying his enemies thumbnail 1
Henry IV destroying his enemies thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sculpture, Room 117

Henry IV destroying his enemies

Statuette
ca. 1603 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This statuette, of Henri IV of France victorious over his enemies, was made in about 1603 by Barthélémy Prieur, in France.

Prieur (ca. 1536-1611) was one of the most prolific French sculptors of bronze statuettes in the decades around 1600. From 1564 to 1567 he worked in Turin as court sculptor to Duke Emanuel-Philibert of Savoy. In 1591, Henry IV appointed him as his Court Sculptor and in this role he worked on the interior decoration of the Palais du Louvre, Paris. A version of this statuette is documented as being on display in the Louvre Palace in 1603. Henry IV commissioned many images of himself for propaganda purposes. The inventory made at Prieur's death in 1611 includes three busts of the King and Queen, together with a 'figure of the late King on horseback with two captives below'. Several versions of the composition exist, including examples in the Musée Henri IV, Pau (formerly Louvre), the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg and the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Brunswick.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Bronze
Brief Description
Statuette, bronze, Henry IV destroying his enemies, by Barthélémy Prieur, French, ca. 1603
Physical Description
King Henry is depicted on a rearing horse, striking down two opponents, one of whom is trying to ward off the sabre about to crash down upon him. Bronze with brown patina.
Dimensions
  • Weight: 3.5kg
  • Height: 20cm
  • Length: 19cm
  • Width: 17cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'No. 144' (Around the base)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Dr W. L. Hildburgh, FSA
Object history
Given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A., 1956.



Historical significance: This theme is inspired by Antiquity. Henry IV dispersed images of his royal person in the form of medallions and small busts, many of the latter were produced by Prieur.
Historical context
This bronze was used as a furniture bronze. The use of small bronzes as decoration for grand furniture was very common, as can also be seen by a version of the same group at Hatfield House, which is mounted on a 17th century French cabinet.
Subject depicted
Summary
This statuette, of Henri IV of France victorious over his enemies, was made in about 1603 by Barthélémy Prieur, in France.



Prieur (ca. 1536-1611) was one of the most prolific French sculptors of bronze statuettes in the decades around 1600. From 1564 to 1567 he worked in Turin as court sculptor to Duke Emanuel-Philibert of Savoy. In 1591, Henry IV appointed him as his Court Sculptor and in this role he worked on the interior decoration of the Palais du Louvre, Paris. A version of this statuette is documented as being on display in the Louvre Palace in 1603. Henry IV commissioned many images of himself for propaganda purposes. The inventory made at Prieur's death in 1611 includes three busts of the King and Queen, together with a 'figure of the late King on horseback with two captives below'. Several versions of the composition exist, including examples in the Musée Henri IV, Pau (formerly Louvre), the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg and the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Brunswick.
Bibliographic References
  • Berger, U. and Krahn, V., Bronzen der Renaissance und des Barock, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig, 1994, cat. 234, pp. 292-295
  • Wenley, R., 'French Royal Bronzes in Great Britain', in: Apollo, Vol. CL, no. 451, September 1999, pp. 3-12, fig. 14
  • Evelyn, Peta. 'Hubert le Sueur's equestrian bronzes at the Victoria & Albert Museum. In: The Burlington Magazine, (Feb. 1995), Vol. CXXXVII, No. 1103, p. 88, fig. 34, n. 14
  • Radcliffe, A., Baker, Malcolm and Maek-Gérard, Michael, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Renaissance and later Sculpture with works of art in bronze, London, 1992, cat. 57, p. 296, illus. 2
Collection
Accession Number
A.42-1956

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record createdJune 27, 2002
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