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John Flaxman (1755 - 1826), sculptor
Model of a proposed statue of Britannia
Museum number: M1079
In 1799, the year after Nelson’s famous victory at the battle of the Nile, the sculptor John Flaxman designed a colossal 230 foot high statue of Britannia intended to stand on Greenwich Hill as a national monument to British naval prowess. It was Soane’s former master George Dance the Younger who is supposed to have suggested the site of Greenwich Hill to Flaxman. Flaxman argued for the realisation of his idea in a pamphlet with illustrations engraved by William Blake, but what would have been a stupendous national monument remained unexecuted. This model of the statue was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1801.
Helen Dorey ‘Soane and Flaxman’ in Flaxman: Master of the Purest Line, Exhibition Catalogue, Sir John Soane’s Museum 2003
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