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François Fouquet (1787 - 1870), maker

Model of the ancient Greek Choragic Monument of Lysicrates as executed at St Cloud, Paris, 'restored', c.1800-1834, plaster of Paris.

Height: 33.7cm
Width: 18cm
Depth: 18cm

Museum number: MR76

Curatorial note

This is a highly unusual variant on the Choragic Monument. Fouquet has not based his model reconstruction on depictions of the original in Athens, which was a monument raised in honour of the choregos or theatrical sponsor Lysicrates. A drama which he had organised and paid for, either in 335 or 334 BC, won the first prize in the Dionysia religious festival which took place in the Theatre of Dionysus, Athens, in honour of that god. The prize was a bronze tripod, which, to commemorate Lysicrates’ victory, was set up on the small, circular monument named after him (334 BC). Instead Fouquet has based the model on the so-called 'Lantern of Demosthenes', a tall, tower-like folly, built in 1801 by Napoleon I in the park of the Château of St Cloud, Paris, the top two sections of which were loosely based upon the classical monument. The open circular structure contained a bust of the Emperor (replicated in miniature in Fouquet’s model) and the Lantern would be illuminated to indicate that Napoleon was in residence at the Château. The original Choragic Monument of Lysicrates was far shorter than the tower at St Cloud and the central section was formed of a hollow drum of masonry with engaged Corinthian columns. In 1870, as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, the Lantern of Demosthenes at St Cloud was destroyed.

This model, along with the Arch of Hadrian (MR74) was badly damaged in World War II, probably when a landmine fell onto Lincoln’s Inn Fields on the night of 15 October 1940 shattering the glass case as well as the plaster model.

The shattered plaster columns allow us to see the inner bronze armature that Fouquet used to strengthen the fragile plaster. It would appear that these bronze rods were positioned into the moulds for the column shafts and then the liquid plaster was poured around them.

The model is currently (2016) being restored by a specialist modelmaker.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Sir John Soane purchased the twenty models by François Fouquet in 1834 from the architect Edward Cresy (1792-1858) who, from 1829 to 1835, worked in Paris. Soane paid Cresy the substantial sum of £100 (£10,136.78 in today’s money). It is likely that Cresy purchased the models directly from Fouquet et Fils.


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