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Model - Model for the Wellington Monument in St Paul's Cathedral
  • Model for the Wellington Monument in St Paul's Cathedral
    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875
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Model for the Wellington Monument in St Paul's Cathedral

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1857 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster and wax

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Her Majesty's Office of Works

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case 4

Object Type
After the death of the 1st Duke of Wellington in 1852, the government announced that a competition was to be held for the design for a monument to commemorate him. This was Stevens's competitive sketch model, and was among those exhibited at Westminster Hall, London, in 1857. Although Stevens's model came fifth in the competition, which was won by William Calder Marshall (1813-1894), it was actually judged more suitable to the monument's setting, which was to be St Paul's Cathedral, and he was therefore awarded the commission. The monument, which was not unveiled until 1912, 37 years after the artist's death, was completed by his pupil Hugh Stannus (1840-1908). Stevens had made some changes to the design, and the finished monument therefore differs in some respects from this model, but the general composition remained. The model is made from plaster and wax, with metal armatures; in form it echoes Italian Renaissance monuments.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was widely held to be the greatest British military hero of the 19th century, most famous for his victory over Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815.

Alfred Stevens was one of the most important sculptors in Britain in the 19th century, and executed a wide variety of work, including designs for silver and maiolica, firedogs and chimney-pieces, as well as sculpture. He had trained in Italy, working first in Florence, and then under Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) in Rome. He held a great admiration for Michelangelo, but was also influenced by Florentine artists of the 15th century, such as Donatello. His vibrant style, which was both rooted in the traditions of the Italian Renaissance, and new and naturalistic, exercised a strong influence on British sculptors towards the end of the 19th century, such as George Frampton (1860-1928) and Alfred Gilbert (1854-1934).

Place of Origin

London (made)


1857 (made)


Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster and wax


Height: 310 cm, Width: 98 cm, Depth: 70 cm

Object history note

Given by H.M. Office of Works in 1878.

Descriptive line

Sketch-model, plaster and wax, for the monument to the 1st Duke of Wellington in St Paul's Cathedral, by Alfred Stevens, England, 1857

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

List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired in the Year 1878, London, 1878, p. 6
Armstrong, W, Alfred Stevens, a Biographical study. London: Remington, 1881, p. 16, p. 22
Stannus, Hugh, Alfred Stevens and his Work, London: The Autotype Co, 1891, p. 20, pl. XXXVIII
MacColl, D.S. 'The Wellington Monument of Alfred Stevens. A Description, with Illustrations, of the existing Models and Drawings for the Equestrian Statue', in: Architectural Review, March 1903, XIII, pp. 96, 87, fig. 11
Brown, F.P., London Sculpture, Oxford: Pitman, 1934, p. 70, p. 80
Towndrow, K.R. Alfred Stevens, London: Constable and Co Ltd, 1939, p. 159
Physick, J. Designs for English Sculpture 1680-1860, London: V & A Publications, 1969, p. 186, p. 188
Physick, J.The Wellington Monument. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1970, pp. 51-80, pl. 34-9
Read, B., Victorian Sculpture, London: New Haven, 1982, p. 29, pl. 20, 84
Penny, N., Catalogue of Sculpture, Oxford: Ashmolean, III, 1992, p. 161
Bassett, J and Fogelman, P. Looking at European Sculpture. A Guide to Technical Terms, London: V& A Publications, 1997, p. 57
Hubbard. C. 'Too Big for his Boots- The Relocation of the Wellington Monument model', V&A Conservation Journal, Autumn 2001, no. 39, pp. 8-9
Bilbey, Diane and Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V & A Publications, 2002, p. 375, cat. no. 576
Droth, Martina, Edwards, Jason, and Hatt, Michael, Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837-1901, exh. cat., YUP, New Haven and London, 2015, fig. 7.2, p. 352

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Alfred Stevens' monument to the 1st Duke of Wellington in St Paul's cathedral is one of his most celebrated works. This is the plaster sketch made as an entry for the competition for the monument. Stevens drew on a number of sources, including Italian sculpture, to produce a massive and imposing memorial. The monument itself was not completed until 1912. [27/03/2003]


Plaster; Wax


Death; Architecture; Sculpture; Politics


Sculpture Collection

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