Object Details

St Michael Overcoming Satan

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Makers
General Information
Classification
Object Parts
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History
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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:Church Street / A283
Town:Petworth
Parish:Petworth
Council:Chichester District Council
County:West Sussex
Postcode:GU28
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Inside building
Access is:Public
Location note:Petworth House, The North Gallery, Square Bay
In the AZ book:West Sussex
Page:61
Grid reference:N9
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.

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Makers

Name : John Flaxman
     Role:Sculptor

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General Information

Commissioned by: George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837)
Construction period:1826
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:The National Trust (Petworth House)
Description:Large white marble statue on wooden plinth. St. Michael is about to plunge a long spear into the body of a cowering Satan. He holds the spear in both hands. St. Michael is naked apart from drapery covering the genital area. Satan's body transforms into a serpent's from the hip downwards.
Signatures:Signed underneath Satan’s left hand:
J. FLAXMAN, R.A. 1826

Carved catalogue number on base '97'.
Inscription:Inscription on the base, at the back, below the serpent:

THIS GROUP WAS EXECUTED IN 1826 BY JOHN FLAXMAN, R.A.
A MAN WHO PRESENTED THE MOST STRIKING EXAMPLE OF THE
PREEMINENCE OF THE MENTAL OVER THE CORPOREAL FACULTIES
OF HUMAN NATURE, IN THE UNION OF THE GREATEST DEBILITY
AND DISPROPORTION OF FRAME WITH THE STRONGEST ENERGY
OF CHARACTER, WITH THE MOST EXALTED SENTIMENTS OF HONOR
WITH A HEART ACTUATED BY UNIVERSAL BENEVOLENCE
AND WITH A SUBLIMITY OF GENIUS OF WHICH THIS WORK REMAINS
A SPLENDID MONUMENT HARDLY SURPASSED BY THE MOST
CELEBRATED PRODUCTIONS OF ANCIENT TIMES AND CERTAINLY
NONE OF HIS OWN.

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Classification

Categories:Sculptural, Free Standing
Object type1:Statue
Object type2:Sculpture
Subject type1:Figurative
     Subject subtype1:Group
Subject type2:Allegorical
     Subject subtype1:Group

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Object Parts

Part 1:Circular plinth
     Material:Wood (faux red veined marble)
     Height (cm):126
     Width (cm):105
     Depth (cm):105
Part 2:Statue
     Material:White marble
     Height (cm):350
     Width (cm):100
     Depth (cm):150

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Date of on-site inspection:27/06/2008

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History

History:The North Gallery is one of the very few top-lit sculpture and picture galleries to survive from the early nineteenth century. It was extensively restored in 1991-3. The South corridor is the earliest part of the gallery, which was built between 1754 and 1763 to house the major part of the 2nd. Earl’s collection of antiques statuary. The top-lit Central Corridor was added to the gallery by the 3rd. Earl in 1824-5. At the same time work began on the final extension to the gallery, the Square Bay and the whole was finished in October 1827. The works were supervised by Thomas Upton, the Petworth Clerk of Works, and executed by his building yard. Advice was sought from at least three artists; the painter Thomas Philips and the sculptors Sir Francis Chantrey and John Edward Carew. The galleries are presently painted a dark red, restored to this colour during the 1991-3 restorations. The galleries had been this colour in 1873. Red (with green, the most traditional colour for picture galleries) was felt by Ruskin to accentuate the contours of sculpture, and it was known to have been used in ancient Rome as a foil to sculpture. The present sculpture arrangement (devised in 1991-3) was designed to restore, as far as possible that conceived by the 3rd. Earl. It was taken from a unique ground plan of the 3rd. Earl’s statue deployment drawn up in 1835 by H.W. Philips. Apart from the Flaxman, the Square Bay has become a gallery of works by the Irish sculptor J.E. Carew, many of which were placed here in 1835

The North Bay was designed for this particular work. It was ordered before April 1817 and finished in 1826. It was carved, apart from the spear, from a single block of marble at a cost of £3,500. Both Flaxman’s small preliminary and his full-size plaster models are in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The 3rd. Earl later recorded that he ‘gave Flazman the order and the subject, and the attitude according to the picture by Raphael’ (Louvre, Paris).

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References

Source 1 :
     Title:'Petworth House'
     Type:Book
     Author:Rowell, Christopher
     Publisher:The National Trust.


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Photographs





Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons

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