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Statue - Meleager


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1720-1730 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Carpenter, Andrew (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted lead on stone base

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Hugh Phillips Bequest and Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    A.5:1, 2-1985

  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 23, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries, case FS []

Lead was a favoured material for garden sculpture, as it was relatively inexpensive (this example cost £20), and could be cast in a mould for mass production. Often lead groups were reproductions of famous classical or Renaissance marble groups, but this is an 18th-century composition. Many sculptors reproduced famous classical or Renaissance marble groups, such as the Borghese Gladiator, or the sculpture of Giambologna. Frequently Netherlandish artists, such as Carpenter (and before him John Nost, a native of the Netherlands) were responsible for the casting, as they had developed the necessary skills in Europe.

This piece shows the mythical hero Meleager, who killed the savage Calydonian boar. He is represented here with his hunting dog. The figure probably surmounted a gate-pier, and is one of a number of garden sculptures in lead made in the first half of the 18th century.

The sculptor Andrew Carpenter came originally from the Netherlands or France and was first recorded in London in 1702. He worked in marble but produced a great number of garden sculptures in lead, including work for Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, and Canons, Middlesex, and had worked with John Nost the Elder as his principal assistant. He had set up a workshop specialising in lead sculptures near Hyde Park by 1714.

Physical description

Lead figure of a hunter (identified as Meleager, although Actaeon may be represented) stands, resting his left foot with a spear held in his left hand, and a hunting horn in his right. He is semi-nude, with swirling drapery tied around his hips, and the strap of his quiver diagonally across his chest. A hound with upturned head sits at his feet. The two figures are on an octagonal stone base. The original ochre colour paint with which the figure was painted had been obscured by dirt; the cleaning of the surface by Naylor Conservation should reveal the colour once more (1990).

Place of Origin

England (made)


1720-1730 (made)


Carpenter, Andrew (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Painted lead on stone base


Height: 161 cm of figure, Height: 33 cm of base

Object history note

This figure probably surmounted a gate-pier. It was in the collection of Prince Littler, Chestham Park, Henfield, Sussex; sold at Christie's, 19th April 1977, lot 499; bought by T. Crowther & Son Ltd who applied for a licence to export it to Terrace Properties, St Vincent in 1984; Mr Radcliffe objected to the export, and it was bought by the Museum in 1985 for £16,100.

Descriptive line

Statue, lead, of Meleager, by Andrew Carpenter, England, 1720 - 1730

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. 58, cat. no. 80
Trusted, Marjorie, ed. The Making of Sculpture. The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture. London: 2007, p. 67, pl. 108
Williamson, Paul, The NACF and the National Collection of Sculpture. In National Art-Collections Fund Review,1986, pp. 82-83, fig. 7.




Ph_survey; Sculpture; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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