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Bust of Blücher. SM M119. ©Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Photo: Ole Woldbye
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Peter Turnerelli (1774 - 1839), sculptor

Bust of Field Marshal Prince Gebhard von Blücher (1742-1819)


Plaster, on a scagliola column

Height: 71cm
Width (shoulders): 46cm

Museum number: M119

On display: Basement East Corridor
All spaces are in No. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields unless identified as in No. 12, Soane's first house. For tours https://www.soane.org/your-visit

Curatorial note

Bust of Bücher in the uniform of a Field-Marshal, wearing the insignia of the Iron Cross of Prussia, the Black and Red Eagles of Prussia and the order of Maria Theresa. Suspended in the centre is a miniature portrait of the Prince Regent, set with diamonds, which was conferred on him in the Grand Hall at Carlton House on 7 June 1814. The head looks half-right; the hair is brushed back and hangs thick over the collar and there is a curled moustache. The treatment is realistic and there is a mole or wart over the left eye.

The Prince Regent (later King George IV) commissioned a bust of Prince Blücher, subsequently one of the heroes of the defeat of Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo in 1815, from the sculptor Peter Turnerelli, who was able to capture a likeness of the subject during the visit of the Allied Sovereigns to London in June 1814. It was intended for display at Carlton House, the Regent's London palace, alongside other busts of military heroes. As the most celebrated of the allied generals next to Wellington, Blücher's presence in London was greeted with an outpouring of public adulation which saw his temporary lodgings at St James's Palace besieged by eager well-wishers and his carriage drawn along the street by the adoring throng.

Turnerelli's completed marble bust of Blücher remains in the Royal Collection (RCIN 35402) along with companion busts of the Duke of Wellington and Matvei Ivanovich, Count Platov (1753-1818) who led the 'Don Cossack' forces against the French in the Napoleonic wars (Turnerelli charged £157.10s for each of the marble busts). The plaster version acquired by Soane is almost certainly the bust exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1815.

We are indebted to the Royal Collection online for some of the details given here.

Exhibition history

Peace Breaks Out! London and Paris in the Summer of 1814, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 20 June - 13 September 2014

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