The Death of Voltaire thumbnail 1
The Death of Voltaire thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

The Death of Voltaire

Relief
late 18th century to early 19th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Wax relief polychrome
Brief Description
Relief, wax, depicting the death of Voltaire, by Samuel Percy, England, late 18th or early 19th century
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.
Dimensions
  • Height: 55cm
  • Width: 48.5cm
Credit line
Given by Miss J.M. Duncombe
Object history
Given by Miss J.M. Duncombe in 1932.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
Collection
Accession Number
A.19-1932

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record createdMarch 11, 2004
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