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Model - Cannon

Cannon

  • Object:

    Model

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1842 - ca. 1865 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    A.51:1 to 3-1911

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

On the breech of the cannon is a group representing a lion and winged dragon struggling; above the trunnions (which are now missing) is a figure of Mars in armour, seated amidst foliage. This cast is from the same design as a wax cannon on turned wood base (also in the Museum's collections, inv.no. A.79-1911) designed by Stevens for the son of his friend Alfred Pegler, but certain small differences between the plaster and the wax suggest the plaster was not in fact cast from the wax, or that the plaster version was possibly re-worked subsequently.

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

On the breech is a group representing a lion and a winged dragon struggling. Above the trunnions (which are missing) is a figure of Mars in armour, seated amidst foliage. The muzzle terminates in acanthus foliage with a moulding of egg-and-tongue ornament.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1842 - ca. 1865 (made)

Artist/maker

Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster cast

Dimensions

Length: 42 cm max

Object history note

Purchased from Mrs Ada Gamble, 12 Stanlake Villas, Shepherd's Bush, London, together with a range of other objects by Stevens, for £175. Mrs Gamble was the widow of James Gamble, a pupil of Stevens, who had a large collection of designs and drawings by his former master.

Historical significance: This cast is from the same design as a wax cannon on turned wood base (also in the Museum's collections, inv.no. A.79-1911) designed by Stevens for the son of his friend Alfred Pegler, but certain small differences between the plaster and the wax suggest the plaster was not in fact cast from the wax, or that the plaster version was possibly re-worked subsequently.

Descriptive line

Model, plaster, for a cannon, by Alfred Stevens, England, ca. 1842-1865

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

Bilbey, Diane with Trusted, Marjorie, British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2002, p. 400, cat.no. 647
Review of the Principal Acquisitions during the year 1911, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, published under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, pp. 6-7

Materials

Plaster

Subjects depicted

Dragon; Acanthus foliage; Ornament; Lion; Foliage

Categories

Sculpture; Games

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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