Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
John Flaxman

Born in York, he worked in London at his father's plastercasting studio, and in 1787, moved to Rome where he was Director of Josiah Wedgwood's pottery.

An illustrator and designer as well as a sculptor, he is best known for funerary monuments, such as that to Lord Nelson in St. Paul's Cathedral (1808-18), and a host of others in churches throughout Britain, and in Jamaica, Canada and India.

His work in Scotland includes Christ Blessing Little Children, St. Cuthbert's Parish Church, Edinburgh (1802); the statue of Robert Burns, SNPG (1822); a statue of William Pitt (1812), commissioned by Glasgow Town Council and now in GMAG ; and the bronze statue of Sir John Moore for Glasgow's George Square (1810-19).

Flaxman's controvertial portrait of Sir John Moore was the first statue erected in Glasgow's George Square, and the second to be erected anywhere in the city after King William III in the Trongate, in 1735. Moore has since lost the sword from his left hand.

Flaxman is also reputed to have modelled plaster reliefs for the interior of the Assembly Rooms in Glasgow's Ingram Street (1796. dem. 1892), one of which was later discovered in a private garden in Easterhouse in 1934.

Flaxman's portrait appears in the sculpture schemes of two buildings in Glasgow, both carved by John Mossman : a portrait bust on the facade of the former Queen's Rooms (now Hindu Mandir), 1 La Belle Place, 1857, where he represents Sculpture; and the full-length portrait statue on the attic of the Old Athenaeum, 8 Nelson Mandela Place, of 1886-8, where he again represents Sculpture, and holds a model of the Belvedere Torso.


Useful links to other sites:

Please note the spelling: Wedgwood (not Wedgewood).

Works in our Database:
1: George Square (City Centre),
George Square
Monument to Sir John Moore (1810-19)
Sculptor: J Flaxman
2: Kelvingrove Park (West End),
Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum. In the corridor to the right of the north entrance
Statue of William Pitt the Younger (1812)
Sculptor: J Flaxman
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