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Design for a monument for King William III and Queen Mary II; Baroque triumphal arch with statues of the King and Queen on a pedestal behind a sarcophagus, with Corinthian columns in front of which stand figures symbolizing Hope, Justice, Truth and Charity
Pen and brown ink with wash
- Production date
Height: 419 millimetres
Width: 312 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Purchased as by William Kent. Transferred to Gibbons by E. Croft-Murray in 1952.
L.Stainton & C. White 'Drawing in England from Hilliard to Hogarth', 1987
Among Gibbons's most important patrons was Queen Mary, who employed him first at Kensington Palace and then at Hampton Court, where Wren and Talman began an extensive rebuilding programme in 1689. In 1693 he was appointed Master Carver to the Crown, but the death of the Queen in the following year put an end to all the Hampton Court works. With Wren and Hawksmoor, Gibbons was responsible for the Queen's elaborate catafalque and, probably shortly afterwards, again with Wren, designed a marble memorial to her, intended to be placed above her tomb in Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey: Gibbons's drawing for this monument is at All Souls, Oxford. The King decided, however, that the money should be devoted to Greenwich Hospital, which was considered a more fitting memorial to the Queen. The project was revived, probably after the death of the King in 1702, as a joint memorial to William and Mary. Had Gibbons's design been executed it would have been the most elaborate Baroque monument in England. On either side of the central group of the King and Queen, attended by a mourning Britannia and two other females, stand four figures of Virtues - Hope, Justice, Prudence and Charity - on pedestals between coupled Corinthian pillars. Overhead, angels with trumpets draw back the hangings of a baldachin, while putti descend holding a wreath, a palm and a celestial crown.
Although this ambitious project was unrealised, Gibbons thriftily made use of various elements in it elsewhere. His monument to the 1st Duke of Beaufort (1629-1700), originally erected in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, but moved to Badminton in 1875 (see Stainton & White 1987, p. 197), is a simpler version of the royal design. The full-length female figures standing in front of the twin Corinthian columns are Justice and Prudence; on the plinth below the sarcophagus is the group of St George and the Dragon which occurs in the entablature in the present drawing. Above the recumbent figure of the Duke, two putti proffer a celestial crown. (The figures of Virtues were removed some years ago, but are still at Badminton, and it is hoped that they will eventually be replaced.) Gibbons must have been particularly proud of the figures, for they reappeared in about 1707 as part of a design for the decoration of the Saloon at Blenheim (design now in Bodleian Library, Oxford), where he was responsible, between 1708-1712, for much of the architectural ornament and figure sculpture.
Literature: Croft-Murray 1; D. Green, 'Grinling Gibbons: his Work as Carver and Statuary 1648-1721', London, 1964, pp. 74, 164; Whinney (1964), pp. 57, 249 (n. 47).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1987 June-Aug, BM Hilliard to Hogarth no.154
1987 Sept-Nov, New Haven, Hilliard to Hogarth
1998/9 Oct-Jan, V&A, Grinling Gibbons
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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