Model of Lord Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, Art Union of London, Dated 1868 For Sale
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Model of Lord Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, Art Union of London, Dated 1868: $12,800
This finely-detailed, patinated copper replica was sponsored by the Art Union of London, one of an edition of only 25. Rare in that is has the original ebonized wood base and provenance. Attached to the bottom is a paper label with a letterhead from Ynyspenllwch, an estate in Swansea, Wales owned by Henry Miers, whose family owned iron works in the area. The note reads: " To George Jenkins Esq as a very slight remembrance of Mr and Mrs Henry Miers and with sincere thanks for his great kindness and attention to them and their children. 5th June, 1889."
Marked on the base, "Art-Union of London 1868". The Art Union of London was established in 1837, whose goal –“to aid in extending the love of the Arts of Design throughout the United Kingdom, and to give encouragement to Artists” – was met through a subscription and distribution of prizes, works of Art, via a lottery.
In 1868, the Union recorded that “Mr. W. F. Woodington, one of the artists engaged to model the bas-reliefs on the base of the Nelson Column, has prepared an exact copy of the monument on a scale of 1/7 in. to the foot, and copies to be executed by Mssrs. Franchi, will form part of the prize. The account later advises there will be “25 editions of the Nelson Column”. The timing of the Art Union’s interest may have been inspired by the addition to the monument’s base, a year earlier (1867), of four large, Edwin Landseer designed lions (part of Railton’s original 1839 plan).
William F. Woodington’s (1806 – 1893) large, bronze, bas-relief – the Battle of the Nile – joined three other identically sized plaques at the Column’s pedestal, each fashioned by a different sculptor, including the Battle of St. Vincent, Bombardment of Copenhagen, and Death of Nelson. Woodington’s work on the Art Union model is all precision. The “Mssrs. Franchi” mentioned in the Art Union Report … were sculptors Giovanni Franchi (1811-1874) and his son (1832-1870).