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John Flaxman (1755 - 1826), sculptor
Model, Sir Joshua Reynolds, for the statue in St Paul's Cathedral (see also SDR10)
Museum number: M1181
Flaxman was commissioned to produce this full-size statue as one of four ‘benefactors of the English people’ to be placed beneath the crossing of St Paul’s Cathedral. The other three statues were by John Bacon the elder and were of John Howard the prison reformer, Dr Samuel Johnson and the orientalist Sir William Jones. Flaxman had known Reynolds and his image of him has great conviction: it was praised during Flaxman’s lifetime for its ‘noble bearing’. Beneath Reynolds’ left hand, carved on a column, is a relief of Michelangelo - the artist Reynolds most admired.
Helen Dorey ‘Soane and Flaxman’ in Flaxman: Master of the Purest Line, Exhibition Catalogue, Sir John Soane’s Museum 2003
Joshua Reynolds: the Creation of Celebrity, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara 12 February - 1 May 2005; Tate Britain, London, 26 May - 25 September 2005
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