Sculpture 8 Who sculpted this statue of Klemens von Metternich (1773–1859)?

NTV_PH_T22919_001
Topic: Artist

This sculpture of Metternich, one of the architects of modern Europe at the Congress of Vienna, is now in storage at Preston Park Museum, but the collection has no information on it and no record of how it was acquired.

https://bit.ly/2SfVqwN
https://bit.ly/2NkBJD3
These photos show the statue in its former home at Wynyard Hall. The house was inherited by Frances Anne Vane Tempest, whose marriage in 1819 to Charles Stewart (afterwards Charles Vane, as he took his wife’s name) marked the beginning of a long Londonderry connection with Wynyard, which ended with its sale in 1987 to property developer Sir John Hall (the current owner). A programme of renovation was undertaken in the 1980s.

Charles’s half-brother Robert Stewart, Lord Castlereagh, was, as Foreign Secretary (1812–1822), closely involved with Metternich in negotiating peace in Europe at Paris and Vienna, which surely explains the presence of the latter’s statue at Wynyard. A bust of Metternich, unrelated to this full-length portrait, still stands in the house. The attached photograph was kindly supplied by the staff at Wynyard Hall.

Metternich was in exile in England (1848–1851), between the ages of 76 and 81. Blue plaques record that he lived at 44 Eaton Square, London SW1 in 1848 and later at 42 Brunswick Terrace, Hove. This sculpture appears to show him as younger man than he would have been at that time.

In any case, this title could be updated to include the sitter’s full name and dates.

Marion Richards, Art Detective Officer, Entry reviewed by Art UK

1 attachment

8 comments

Osmund Bullock,

This is actually not Metternich at all, but Lord Castlereagh himself. It is a copy of John Evan Thomas's posthumous marble statue erected in Westminster Abbey in 1850. See https://bit.ly/2SS2PYo

Osmund Bullock,

I should really say 'cast', not copy - it was probably done under the supervision of the artist, and the lack of definition (particularly noticeable in his Garter star - see https://bit.ly/2XgSgfM) likely to be the result of a coat or coats of paint over the plaster.

Thank you, Osmund! You have not only given us the artist, but also solved a case of mistaken identity!

This is listed as a plaster cast on Art UK.

Osmund Bullock,

There is surprisingly little mention of this work in online sources, though a footnote here confirms it was his younger brother the 3rd Lord Londonderry who commissioned (or "procured") the original marble: https://bit.ly/2Nlaus4. It does not seem to have been exhibited, and is not mentioned on the 'Mapping Sculpture' website (https://bit.ly/2VdBSuQ).

However the BNA once again comes up trumps with the attached story from the Illustrated London News, which tells us that it had "just been completed" in mid-June 1849; it was erected in the Abbey exactly a year later, as other newspaper reports from 8th June onwards detail.

A new Sculpture Group will be added soon, led by Katharine Eustace, our current group leader for 'Portraits: British 20th C'. Until the new group goes onto the website, I will add the few sculpture discussions to Katharine's group so that she can see them all.

Martin Hopkinson,

This may be the plaster for Thomas' statue according to Timothy Stevens, who I believe, wrote the ODNB biography the sculpture
There may well be material relating to it at Mount Stuart, now a National Trust property in Ulster, where much Castlereagh memorabilia can be found.

This is the comment in the ODNB entry on the sculptor John Evan Thomas, 1810-73 (by Mark L Evans rather than Timothy Stevens):

'In 1844 he exhibited at Westminster Hall his model for the statue of the second marquess of Londonderry, which was executed in marble and erected in Westminster Abbey in 1850. It received a mixed response, being described by the Literary Gazette as 'without dignity in the head and without dignity in the attitude', while the Art Union considered that it had 'very considerable merit' (both cited in Gunnis, 390).'

I agree with Osmund that it is more likely to be a rather heavily painted cast than a plaster model, but the issue of identity of both subject and artist has been resolved, so this could be ticked off. Pity to have lost Metternich who always calls to mind the stary told of the elderly Palmerston, who when asked the answer to the celebrated 'Schleswig-Holstein question' (the Brexit-type conundrum of its age) is reported to have answered that only three people ever knew, ' Prince Metternich, who is dead: a German professor, who went mad; and myself - and I can't remember!'

Martin Hopkinson,

Pieter, Timothy provided the information for Mark and I helped Timothy over some points

Please support your comments with evidence or arguments.

jpg, png, pdf, doc, xls (max 6MB)
Drop your files here
Attach a file Start uploading
 

Sign in

By signing in you agree to the Terms & Conditions, which includes our use of cookies.