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King William III, William of Orange

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1689-1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nost, John van I (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and wash on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case 14, shelf D4

Object Type
This preparatory drawing was probably shown to the client, William III. There are very few identified drawings by Nost, the others being in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and the British Museum, London.

Subjects Depicted
William III, who reigned with his wife, Mary II, from 1689 to1702, is here portrayed in Roman costume. The central figure is flanked by two putti symbolising the continents of Europe and America. The work might have been intended as a companion to a statue of Mary with the other two continents.

John Nost was a native of Malines in The Netherlands. He is first recorded in England around 1678, working at Windsor Castle under Hugh May. His workshop was in the Haymarket and he specialised in lead figures, though he also worked in other materials, such as stone and terracotta. The workshop made a number of pieces for William III's gardens. Other statues by Nost also show the King as a Roman emperor, including two in lead, one at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, and one in Portsmouth Dockyard, Hampshire, which could relate to this drawing.

Physical description


Place of Origin

England (made)


1689-1700 (made)


Nost, John van I (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and wash on paper


Height: 49.5 cm, Width: 18.1 cm

Object history note

Drawn in England by John van Nost (possibly born in Mechelen, The Netherlands, active in England from about 1678, died in London, about 1712)

Descriptive line

Design for a Statue of William III, drawn in England by John van Nost, 1689 - 1700

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This is a preparatory design for a statue of William III, possibly for the gardens of Hampton Court Palace near London. William III used statues to promote his royal image in public. Here, his role is underlined by the sculptor John van Nost, who showed him in the costume of a Roman emperor. [27/03/2003]


Pen and ink; Paper



Subjects depicted

Statues; Putti; Classicism; Plinths


Drawings; Royalty; Sculpture


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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