|Author|| Flaxman, John, R.A., 1755 - 1826|
|Title||A Letter To The Committee For Raising The Naval Pillar, Or Monument, Under The Patronage Of His Royal Highness The Duke of Clarence. By John Flaxman, Sculptor.|
|Imprint||London:: Printed For T. Cadell, Jun. And W. Davies, In The Strand; T. Payne, Mews-Gate; And R. H. Evans (Successor To Mr. Edwards), No. 26, Pall-Mall; By G. Woodfall, No. 22, Paternoster-Row., 1799.|
|Physical Description||14,  p., frontis., plates 2, 3; 252 mm. (Quarto). |
|Content Format Note||[Frontis., t.p.] - [Text] - [Plates 2, 3] - [Text (P.s. and Note)] - Explanation Of The Plates - [Colophon].|
|Summary Note||Flaxman returned from Rome to Britain in 1794, a celebrated sculptor and draughtsman, well-placed to apply for commissions to execute the proposed monuments to British naval heroes. Here he argues that a colossus on Greenwich Hill would be better than a column or other memorial. It should represent Britannia by divine providence triumphant, and might be estimated to cost about £50,000. He attributes this idea to a suggestion of George Dance the younger.|
The plates show:  (Frontispiece) 'A Colossal Statue 230 feet high, proposed to be erected on Greenwich Hill'; 2. six alternatives, '1 Obelisk, 2 Column, 3 Meta, 4 Arch, 5 Pharos, 6 Temple'; 3. 'A View of Greenwich Hospital with the Statue of Britannia on the Hill'.
In January 1800 the architect Alexander Dufour in his Letter to the Nobility composing the Committee for raising the Naval Pillar accused Flaxman of trying to influence the Committee against triumphal arches and pillars. But drawings surviving at Princeton confirm that Flaxman did seriously consider a gigantic arch, surmounted by a seated Britannia and adorned by naval trophies.
In 1801 Flaxman exhibited at the Royal Academy a sketch for a statue of Britannia. The Colossus was never executed. Flaxman did, however, sculpt monuments to Lord Nelson and Earl Howe for St. Paul's cathedral; and he used a very similar design to his Colossus for his monument to Lord North (second earl of Guilford) in the church at Wroxton, Oxfordshire.
Flaxman's original drawing for his Britannia colossus is held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London - and his model, at the Soane Museum, London.
|Responsibility Note||The frontispiece is signed as engraved by Blake; the other two plates are unsigned.|
The printer's name is repeated in the colophon.
|Subject||Monuments, British - National monuments, British - War memorials - Statues - Sculpture, British - Colossi - Outdoor sculpture - Public sculpture - Site-specific works - Great Britain - London - Greenwich - History - 18th century|
Art commissions - Government policy - Art and state - Great Britain - 18th century
Designs - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century
|Name as Subject|| Britannia|
Flaxman, John, R.A., 1755 - 1826
Committee for Raising the Naval Pillar or Monument
Great Britain. Navy
|Reproductions||An electronic reproduction was published in 2003 (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale). A microfilm version was published in 1986 (Woodbridge CT: Research Publications).|
|References||ESTC T99371. Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 2 (1995), no. 1076; R.N. Essick, William Blake's commercial book illustrations (1991), no. XXXVIII; G.E. Bentley, Blake books (1977), no. 458.|
A. Borg, War memorials from antiquity to the present (1991); A. Yarrington, The commemoration of the hero, 1800-1864: monuments to the British victors of the Napoleonic wars (1988); Victoria and Albert Museum, Designs for English sculpture 1680-1860, ed. J. Physick (1969); M. Campbell, 'An alternative design for a commemorative monument by John Flaxman', in Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, 17 (1958), p. 65-73.
|Binding Note||20th-century half calf, brown cloth-covered boards; gilt-decorated spine lettered 'Tracts' and 'R.A.'|
|Provenance||Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.|
|Contributors|| Cadell, Thomas, the elder, 1742 - 1802, publisher|
Blake, William, 1757 - 1827, engraver
Woodfall, George, 1767 - 1844, printer
MARC Record view|