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Model - King William III

King William III

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1695 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nost, John van I (modeller)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case 14

Object Type
The King is shown holding a sceptre and looking towards his left. He wears a cloak lined with ermine (a white fur), the Chain and Order of the Garter, and a long curling wig. It is thought to be the original model for the lifesize stone figure of William III on the Royal Exchange erected in 1695. The statue has since been lost, following a fire at the Exchange of 1838.

John Nost Nost (1686-1710) 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. He had many important patrons and was commissioned to make a number of garden figures for great houses and palaces, including Castle Howard and Hampton Court Palace.

Materials & Making
Terracotta (baked clay) was commonly used for sculptors' models. The clay could be modelled freely before firing, and when fired was a durable material which could be painted or scaled up into a larger piece. Often, as must have happened with this piece, the terracotta model was valued on its own account.

Physical description

Statuette, terracotta. The king is represented standing looking towards the right. His left hand is on his hip and his right (a restoration) is raised and probably originally held a baton. He wears a long loose fur-lined tunic held in at the waist by his sword belt. Over this is a fur-lined cape and a mantle held by long cords knotted in front. A long curling wig falls over the shoulders and a plain lace cravat is knotted round the neck. The back of the figure is a plaster restoration.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1695 (made)


Nost, John van I (modeller)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 53.5 cm, Width: 35 cm maximum, Depth: 19 cm maximum, Width: 18 cm base, Depth: 16 cm base

Object history note

Modelled in England by John van Nost (possibly born in Mechelen, The Netherlands, active in England from about 1678, died in London, about 1712).
Purchased from Montague Marcussen Ltd, Antiques & Works of Art. 98 Crawford Street, London, in 1939, for £25. It was on long-term loan to Historic Royal Palaces at Hampton Court from 1992-1999.

Descriptive line

Model, terracotta, William III, by John Nost I (the Elder), England, ca. 1695

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

Whinney, M. Sculpture in Britain 1530 to 1830. (revised by J. Physick) London, 1988, p.445, note. 68.
Smith, N. 'Great Nassau's Image, Royal George's Test', The Georgian Group Journal. VI, 1996, p.12, p.21, note. 4.
Molesworth, H.D. Sculpture in England: Renaissance to Early XIX Century British Council, London, New York, Toronto, 1951, p.14, pl. XIX
Roscoe, I. 'The Statues of the Soveriegns of England: Sculpture for the Secon Building 1695-1831' in Saunders, A. (ed.) The Royal Exchange London, Topographical Society Publication 152, 1997, p.176, fig. 62
Bilbey, Diane with Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V& A Publications, 2002. pp. 7-8. cat. no. 8

Labels and date

British Galleries:
TERRACOTTA MODELS of William and Mary

These were models for life-size figures that were erected in 1695 on the Royal Exchange in London. They were from a series of sculptures depicting English monarchs. Statues were a traditional and powerful way of ensuring that the images of monarchs were widely known to their subjects. [27/03/2003]


Sculpture; Portraits


Sculpture Collection

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