- Museum number
Design for a monument to Sir William Jones; tablet enclosing design for relief showing Jones on left writing his 'Digest of Hindu and Mohammedan Law' with three Indians seated before him with books positioned on their laps. c. 1801
Pen and grey ink and grey wash
- Production date
- 1797-1801 (circa)
Height: 97 millimetres
Width: 145 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Another study for this monument (1900-8-24-211) and a drawing for Flaxman's other memorial to Jones, which is in St Mary's Church, Oxford (1900-8-24-209), were acquired at the same time and are mounted with this drawing. There is a full-scale plaster model of this tablet in the collection of UCL.
This design is for the monument intended by Jones's widow for India but now in University College, Oxford. See 1900-8-24-212 for an engraving by Samuel Rawle depicting the monument as erected, which formed the frontispiece of the 'European Magazine' (vol.48). In the finished monument, Jones is depicted seated at a table against a background of banana trees, thus placed above the Indians.
The drawing shows Jones seated at the left, writing his 'Digest of Hindu and Mohammedan Law', with three Indians sitting before him. The focus on Jones's unusual achievements and their setting in India meant that standard motifs could not be used by Flaxman; nor could the design be re-used. Flaxman appears to have been experimenting in this drawing with the format of the monument, as the illustrative panel is sited two-thirds of the way down the finished sculpture rather than at the top of it as this drawing infers.
It appears that Flaxman received this commission as early as 1797 when he exhibited a model titled 'Sir William Jones writing from the Hindoo doctors or Pundits reading their sacred law' at the Royal Academy (no. 1188). He then exhibited a marble bas-relief titled 'Sir William Jones compiling the Hindu laws' at the RA in 1801 (no. 971).
David Bindman, 'John Flaxman, 1755-1826: master of the Purest Line', 2003, p. 47.
David Irwin, 'John Flaxman, 1755-1826', 1979, pp. 139-140.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2003 April-June, London, Strang Print Room, John Flaxman
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number