- Museum number
Design for a monument to Sir William Jones; four kneeling figures writing or reading
Pen and grey ink with grey wash
- Production date
- 1797-1801 (circa)
Height: 123 millimetres
Width: 206 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Another study for this monument (1900-8-24-210) and a drawing for Flaxman's other memorial to Jones, 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.
This drawing shows Flaxman experimenting with the Indian figures in the monument. As with 1900-8-24-210, Jones writes informally leaning on his knees. He appears more attentive to the Indians as he is in the process of actual transcription: the middle figure holds up his text, marking a passage with his fingers reading from it. Jones wears the same headwear as one of the Indians, has bare legs and is much lower down than in the final design. Underneath him is the Veda, a sacred Hindu text.
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 1755-1826: Master of the Purest Line'.
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number