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image M311

Model for the Pitt Cenotaph, National Debt Redemption Office, London, spandrel ornament, (designed by Sir John Soane), plaster

Museum number: M311

Curatorial note

This spandrel ornament depicts a cherub seated on what Soane called a 'raffle leaf' - a stylised acanthus leaf - holding an inverted torch. The inverted torch symbolizes death but the burning flame (which normally would be extinguished when the torch was turned upside-down) symbolizes the flame of eternal life and the Christian belief in resurrection.

In 1817 Soane as asked by the Directors of the Bank of England to submit designs and estimates for a new National Debt Redemption Office in Old Jewry in the City of London. The Commissioners moved there in 1820. They wished to place a statue of William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806) in the new offices but no room could be found for it and Soane therefore prepared designs for an enlargement of the building to serve as the Pitt Cenotaph, which was completed in 1823.

This model is a pair with M308


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk