Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Relief - The Death of Voltaire
  • The Death of Voltaire
    Percy, Samuel, born 1750 - died 1820
  • Enlarge image

The Death of Voltaire

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    late 18th century to early 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Percy, Samuel, born 1750 - died 1820 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wax relief polychrome

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss J.M. Duncombe

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Voltaire is shown on his deathbed in an interior. Samuel Percy (1750-1820) was one of the most popular and prolific wax modellers of the late 18th and early 19th century in Britain, and specialised in portrait waxes as well as genre scenes such as this one.

Physical description

Relief in wax. To the right the dying Voltaire (1694-1778) is stretched across the green canopied bed. On the left a maid enters, crying out, and raising her hands in horror. In original gilded case.

Place of Origin

England (made)


late 18th century to early 19th century (made)


Percy, Samuel, born 1750 - died 1820 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wax relief polychrome


Height: 55 cm, Width: 48.5 cm

Object history note

Given by Miss J.M. Duncombe in 1932.

Descriptive line

Relief, wax, depicting the death of Voltaire, by Samuel Percy, England, late 18th or early 19th century

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

Lederer, P. Portraits in Wax. The Collection of Mrs A E Hamill, Connoisseur, August 1934, pp.102-3
Yarrington, A 'Under the Spell of Madame Tussaud: Aspects of 'high' and 'low' in nineteenth century polychromed sculpture' in The Colour of Sculpture 1840-1910 Amsterdam. Van Gogh Museum, 1996, p. 83
Elwyn, E.G. 'S.Percy's Rustic Scenes in Wax. The Connoisseur. XCIII. 1934, p. 320
Williamson, Paul. ed. European Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 1996, p. 172
Trusted, Marjorie. ed. The Making of Sculpture. The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture. London. 2007, p. 31, pl. 44
Ord-Hume, Ruth, " ‘That ingenious Artist, Mr Percy’: the wax tableaux of Samuel Percy", in: Sculpture Journal, Vol 21.1, 2012, pp. 108, 114



Subjects depicted

Death; Servants; Men; Authors; Beds; Women; Figures; Costume


Sculpture; Porcelain; Death; Writing


Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.