V&A Search the Collections

Design

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1793 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bacon, John the elder (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and wash on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:

    E.423-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case A, shelf 93

  • Public access description

    Study, one of two, by John Bacon the Elder (1740-1799) for a full-length, life-size sculpture of Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis (1738-1805). The drawing shows the Marquess in Roman armour with raised sword in his left hand, and an olive branch in his right. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and was the first Governor General of India. This sculpture was one of Bacon's most important commissions. The marble figure was executed for the East India Company, and now stands in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. It is interesting to note that a choice of drawings was made for presentation to the client. This design is the closer of the two to the finished sculpture. The alternative design for the sculpture is also at the V&A (Museum number E.424-2008).

    Bacon began his career as a modeller in a porcelain factory, going on to design for the ceramic and metalwork industries. His career as a sculptor, however, took off when the Archbishop of York commissioned a bust of George III. His best known works are the monuments to Thomas Guy in Guy's Hospital, Pitt the Elder in Westminster Abbey, and Dr. Johnson at St. Paul's Cathedral.

  • Physical description

    Study in pen and ink and grisaille for a full-length life-size sculpture of Charles, 1st Marquess Cornwallis. The drawing shows the Marquess in Roman armour with raised sword in his left, and an olive branch in his right, hand.

  • Dimensions

    Height: 40 cm, Width: 25.4 cm

  • Object history note

    This is a study for a full-length life-size figure of Charles, 1st Marquess Cornwallis who was the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the first Governor General of India (1738-1805). It was one of Bacon's most important commissions, the marble figure was executed for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (see R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851 (revised edition, London, 1968), p.26.

  • Descriptive line

    Design for the sculpture of the Marquis of Cornwallis by John Bacon the Elder, ca. 1793

  • Production Type and Product Note

    Design

  • Collection code

    Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection