Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd

  • Pen and ink and grey and amber wash
  • 14 ½ × 9 ¼ inches · 368 × 235 mm
  • Signed ‘J.Wilton Inv.’ (bottom right)
    Inscribed: ‘RELI/GION (left hand roundel) and
    ‘CHA/RTY’ (right hand roundel) and ‘D.O.M’ (centre plaque)
    Drawn c.1780
  • £4,800

Collections

  • Sir Bruce Stirling Ingram, O.B.E., M.C., F.S.A. (1877-1963);
  • Sotheby’s, 21st October 1964, part of lot. 196;
  • Christopher Powney acquired from the above;
  • W A Brandt (1902-1978) acquired from the above on 14th December 1964 [£30];
  • by descent to 2024.

Exhibitions

  • Ickworth, British Neo-Classical Art, 18th May – 20th July 1969, cat. no. 102.

This grand wash drawing by Joseph Wilton was made in preparation for a substantial funerary monument, as yet unidentified, the design shows a mural monument surmounted by a bust. 

In the decades after his return from Italy, Wilton became one of the leading sculptors in Britain, elected a founder member of the Royal Academy he received considerable patronage from George III, designing the State Coach and completing a series of important monuments for Westminster Abbey, including the memorial to General Wolfe. The inclusion of a bust suggests that this monument was planned to be on an ambitious scale. The design shows Wilton’s sophisticated integration of the architectural with more elaborate sculpture elements: set into an existing niche, as indicated in the drawing, Wilton has created a pedestal with an empty central tablet for the commemorative inscription, flanked by relief figures of Religion and Charity. The bust is then flanked by laurel branches and surmounted by an urn. The bust recalls that of Richard Gipps, which was carved by Wilton and installed in the church of West Harling, Norfolk in 1780, although the supporting structure is far less elaborate than shown in the current design.