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John Flaxman (1755 - 1826), sculptor

Model for a statue of the Marquess of Hastings

Plaster

Museum number: SDR1

Curatorial note

John Soane described this small model as 'the first sketch of a marble statue, sent to Calcutta, of the Marquess [sic] Hastings'. Flaxman was working on the marble statue, which shows Hastings in the robes of a Marquis, at the time of his death in 1826 and it was completed under the supervision of brother-in-law Thomas Denman and shipped to India. It is a more than life-size statue and stood in the Dalhousie Institute, Calcutta, until 1924 when it was moved to the Victoria Memorial Hall, where it remains today.

Warren Hastings (1732-1818), English statesman, was the first Governor of the Presidency of Fort William, the head of the Supreme Council of Bengal, and thereby the first de facto Governor-General of India from 1774 to 1785. In 1787, he was accused of corruption and impeached by the British parliament, but after a long trial, was acquitted in 1795. He was later rehabilitated and the statue now in Calcutta has an inscription recording that it was erected by the British inhabitants of that City.

Literature

John Soane, Description of the Residence of Sir John Soane, Architect, 1835, p.75
Constable, John Flaxman, 1927, p.96
David Irwin, John Flaxman 1755-1826, 1979, pp.20, 183, 230 note 6. For Westmacott's monument to Hastings of 1830 (Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta) see B. Groseclose British Sculpture and the Company Raj, 1995, pp.106-109.
David Bindman, John Flaxman, 1979 cat. 38
Helen Dorey ‘Soane and Flaxman’ in Flaxman: Master of the Purest Line, Exhibition Catalogue, Sir John Soane’s Museum 2003
Julius Bryant, Thomas Banks: Britain’s First Modern Sculptor, Exhibition Catalogue, Sir John Soane’s Museum, 2005, 34 (cat entry for SDR17) discusses this model

Associated objects

SDR17, same subject


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