Thursday 31 December 2015

The Rysbrack Statuettes of Rubens, van Dyck and du Quesnoy, Part 28. The 19th Century Bronzes.

The 19th Century Bronze Statuettes of Rubens and van Dyck.
V and A website for the Museums pair of bronzes of van Dyke and Rubens.
see -
" This statuette representing Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and it's companion, representing Van Dyck (V&A mus. no. A.23-1955) both form a pair. These statuettes were identified by Margaret Whinney as those formerly in the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth, Grove End Road, London.
On acquisition this statuette and its companion figure were thought to be by Rysbrack. They are now to be known as cast after a model by Rysbrack of about 1743. This present piece is cast by L. Genneau in ca. 1850.
Sold at the Pantechnicon, Motcomb Street, Sotheby's, Belgravia - information Peter Hone.
Anthony van Dyck.
Christie's South Kensington.
Sir Anthony van Dyck.
Sold 16th June 2015 
by Jacksons (Auctioneers), Cedar Falls, USA.
Peter Paul Rubens.
Height 23.75 inches.
With Art Bronze Inc,
of San Fernando, California.
Peter Paul Rubens.
Government Art Collection.
Signed on the pillar Mich. Rysbrack 1743.
Height 60 cms.
Purchased Peel and Humphris in 1964.
Current thinking is that all these bronzes are 19th century possibly from a Belgian Foundry.

Wednesday 30 December 2015

The Rysbrack Statuettes of Rubens, van Dyck and du Quesnoy, Part 27. A Wood and Caldwell Figure of van Dyck.

A Statuette of van Dyck by Wood and Caldwell
After Rysbrack.
van Dyck
After Rysbrack
Height 22 inches.
 Glazed earthenware in imitation of Bronze. 
       Impressed mark underneath "WOOD & CALDWELL".
Wood and Caldwell of Burslem, Staffordshire.
Factory in operation from 1790 until July 1818.
On 1st January 1791 Enoch Wood (1759-1840) entered into partnership with James Caldwell (1760?-1838). Enoch Wood purchased James Caldwells share in 1818 for £27,000.  After this Enoch went into business with his sons.
For more on James Caldwell see -
Pair of Tritons
Glazed Earthenware in Imitation of Bronze
Stamped Wood and Caldwell.

Monday 21 December 2015

The Rysbrack Statuettes of Rubens, van Dyck and du Quesnoy, Part 26. The Dublin van Dycks and the Gahagan Dynasty of Sculptors.

A Plaster Statuette of Sir Anthony van Dyck,
With the Dublin Society
and a Marble Statuette of van Dyck by Lawrence Gahagan.
 sold by Christie's London.
Both after Michael Rysbrack.

The Plaster figure of van Dyck.

after Michael Rysbrack.

23" tall.

Royal Dublin Society.

The left hand appears to be a replacement.

Sir Anthony van Dyck.

Signed by L.Geoghegan (Gahagan).


 Marble Statuette of Sir Anthony van Dyck.

by Laurence Gahagan /Geoghegan (c. 1735 - 1820).

Sold Christie's Sale - Glin Castle Sale - A Knight in Ireland.

Lot 81. - 7 May 2009.

London, King Street. London.

24¾ in. (60 cm.) high.

Extract from the Christie's Catalogue.

The figure standing in contraposto, with a rectangular pedestal behind him signed and dated on the side 'L. Geoghegan. Sculpt. 1756.', an easel, scroll and medallion at his feet, on an integrally carved moulded base and associated plinth.

The present marble statuette of the 17th century painter Sir Anthony Van Dyke is after a celebrated original composition by the sculptor Michael Rysbrack, who created it, along with a pendant of figure of Rubens, in the 1740s.

 Geoghegan is listed as having enrolled at the Dublin Society Drawing Schools in 1753, and is recorded as having received a premium for 'a piece of sculpture' in 1756. A plaster version of the Van Dyck remains in the Dublin Society and its presence would suggest, along with the dating of the present piece, that the marble offered here is the sculpture for which Geoghegan received the premium. It therefore represents an important early work by the artist, before his departure from Ireland to seek his fame in England.

Husband of Pheobe Hunter — married in St Pancras Old Church. London

 He received a premium of thirty guineas from the Society of Arts in 1777 for a cast of a figure.

He is recorded as having exhibited at the Royal Academy in London several times - in 1798 when his address was given as 22 Dean Street in 1800 when his address was given as Pershore Place, New Road (now Euston Road), Little Tichfield St in 1801 and 12 Cleveland St, Fitzroy Square from 1809 - 17.

It has been very difficult for researchers to pin down his works which have often been confused with those of his son Lucius - both appear to have signed their works L. Gahagan.


The Gahagan Dynasty of Sculptors.

 Lawrence Gahagan had four sons, Charles, Lucius (1773 - 1855), Sebastian (1779 - 1838) and Vincent (1776 - 1832) the latter three became sculptors.


Charles Gahagan. b. circa 1765.

First name(s) Charles Last name Gahagan Apprentice, year 1780, Livery company Painter.

 Details Gahagan Charles, son of Lawrence, St Marylebone, Middlesex, statuary, to Charles Schofield, 6 Dec 1780, Painters' Company, Father's occupation statuary,
Birth county -  London/Middlesex, Birth country England.
Record set London Apprenticeship Abstracts, 1442-1850 Category Education & work Record collection Apprentices.

I can find no further record of him.

Lucius Gahagan (1773 - 1855).

We first come across him when he is mentioned 21st February 1799 in the Naval Chronicle, when a Mr Deputy Birch put forward a petition for a model of a sculpture for the late Naval victories to a committee appointed to consider the subject. 

In 1805 he was recorded working for John Flaxman and shortly afterwards with Joseph Nollekens.

Gahagan was responsible for some satisfying architectural sculpture and for works in bronze and plaster as well as marble. He appears also to have worked in wax, for in an undated letter, a correspondent writing to Joseph Nollekens said that ‘Lady Holland wants a good modeller in wax’. On the bottom of this letter Nollekens noted that he had recommended Lucius Gahagan (Nollekens Sketchbook, Ashm, in GPC). His few known monuments, which have ‘of Bath’ appended to the signature, are well-carved, but conventional classicising exercises. A characteristic example, to Archdeacon Thomas in Bath Abbey, has a figure of Faith standing by a column.

From the "Morning Chronicle" on 12 April, 1806.

LUCIUS GAHAGAN.– respectfully informs the Nobility and Gentry, that he is the only Professional Sculptor who ever was honoured with sittings for a BUST of the great LORD NELSON, having already sold upwards of 300 Casts, and also executed them in Marble and real Bronze, he hopes will be sufficient proof of the likeness being satisfactory. Casts of the above may be had of the Artist, No.5. Bentinck-street, Berwick-street, Soho, and nowhere else. Price one Guinea, or the size of Life Three Guineas each, to be paid for on delivery, The BUST of the Right Hon. WILLIAM PITT will be published in a few days.

In 1817 he is recorded in a directory at Norfolk Street, Tottenham Court Road, and in 1818 in Johnstone's London Commercial Guide at 12 Cleveland Street, Fitzroy Square.

Lucius Gahagan had left London, and established himself in Bath by 1820. He seems to have been in the West Country slightly earlier since the Royal Academy catalogue for 1817 list an "L. Gahagan"  of College Green Bristol, and an L. Gahagan Jnr. of 9 Swallow Street in London. The latter is perhaps  Lucius Junior, who later followed his father to Bath. Census records, say he was in Charlton Kings (near Cheltenham) in 1841 and Bath in 1861.

Algernon Graves lists 19 portrait busts by L. Gahagan exhibited at the RA between 1798 and 1817.


Handbill for Gahagan's Exhibition Rooms at 4 Lower Walks. Bath.

Probably Terrace Walk, now known as Bog Island.


This image from Bath in Time


In 1825 the Pittville Pump Room was erected in Cheltenham with statues of Aesculapius, Hygeia and Hippocrates - removed in 1937(Pevsner's Gloucestershire). It is possible that these are early works of Lucius Gahagan II

Above the door of the side entrance of the Theatre Royal Bath is an over life size bust in Bath stone of David Garrick which was made in 1831 by Lucius Gahagan.

Hunts Directory of Bath for 1848 gives the address of Lucius Gahagan sculptor as 13, York Street.

For the son of Lucius Gahagan - Lucius Gahagan II, and the daughter Sarah Gahagan, both sculptors of Chandos Buildings, Bath (Census 1861).

L. Gahagan Jnr. of Swallow Street in London, Royal Academy Catalogue, 1817.

In A Dictionary of British Sculptors by Rupert Gunnis - Miss Sally Gahagan d.1866. She was the daughter of Lawrence Gahagan and in 1817 the year she showed a bust of a child at the RA was living in Bristol. Later on, however, she joined her brother Lucius at Bath.
Died 19.5.1866. Bath Chronicle, 31.5.1866: May 19th at her residence Chandos House, Sarah Gahagan artist surviving her brother only 6 weeks.

From Bath Artists, Vol 1, copyright Bath City Council, Bath Directories:
1823 / 4 Union St Bath;
Resided 1826-9 Lucius Gahagan, sculptor at 4, The Walks Bath
1833 - 6, 13, New Bond St,
1837 - 41 at 10, St Andrews Terrace,
1841-3 Studio was at 4, Bathwick Bridge
1846, 3, Walcot Parade;
1848, -13, York St;
1852-66 Lucius Gahagan, sculptor1, Chandos Buildings, Chandos House,
Copy of L Gahagan's trade plate: L Gahagan, Sculptor; Exhibition Rooms, No 4 Lower Walks, Bath.
Executes MONUMENTS, STATUES, BUSTS,GROUPS, ANIMALS, COATS of ARMS, DECORATIONS for CHURCHES, PUBLIC EDIFICES, BRIDGES, GOTHIC FRONTS, PARKS, LODGE GATES, FOUNTAINS, PLEASURE GROUNDS &c. in Marble, Terra Cotta or Bath Freestone, which from the peculiar quality of its becoming hard and durable when exposed to the weather is well calculated for any of the above purposes. L Gahagan during the last 30 years having been honoured by sittings from many of the most eminent characters of that period, takes leave to state that any Nobleman, Gentleman or Corporate Body desirous of perpetuating the resemblance of any of the undermentioned characters may have an opportunity of erecting Public memorials executed by the hand of the sculptor; who has in many instances had the exclusive honour of transmitting to posterity statues and busts of the following worthies: Alexander I, Emperor Of Russia HRH the Duke of Sussex, President of the Society of Arts &c His Grace the Duke of Wellington Lord Viscount Nelson The late Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells The Lord Bishop of Lichfield Sir James Saumeraz - Sir Samuel Romilly William Wilberforce Esq - The Rev Dr Parr - Watt, Esq, Birmingham The Rev Richard Raikes - Capt Parry etc, etc,

The Gahagan Trade Label, circa 1825 (Area Librarian, County of Avon).
L Gahagan Sketches 'From the large Panoramic Model Executed in terra Cotta by L Gahagan & exhibited in Bath ... and Cheltenham in 1817-18 & to 2 (?2 or 4)' (Reverse No 10).

The death of Lucius Gahagan was reported in Keene's Bath Journal, Dec 22, 1855 and in Bath and Cheltenham Gazette Wed Dec 19, 1855 - same report in both: Dec 14 at Chandos House, aged 82, Mr Lucius Gahagan, sculptor of this city. His reward will be hereafter. In this world he has passed a long and strictly virtuous life exemplifying abilities which only the very few appreciated and which the many failed to reward. More than half his life has been, as to worldy means, that of mere subsistence and in poverty he has resigned his temporal difficulties. His son, who inherits his father's talents and who will, we understand, continue the profession in this city will, we trust, live to see a change for the better.


 Miss Fenton's Sale.

Perhaps the most fascinating but also misleading source of information on the works of  Lawrence and Lucius Gahagan is a sale catalogue (with a pencilled inscription suggesting a date of 1840) of the collection of Miss Fenton of Chandos House, Westgate Buildings, Bath. 

It reads ‘Catalogue of Works of Art…by the late L. Gahagan, sculptor’. There is a pencilled notation ‘1840’, and if the date is accurate, this opens up the possibility that some of the many busts, a few figures and a number of reliefs may be the work of Lucius. Indeed one of the subjects, a group of Maria Bagnell and her murderer, Gilham (described as Gillingham in the sale catalogue) illustrates a notorious murder that took place in 1828 and so must be by Lucius, for Lawrence had by then been dead eight years. Another subject, a bust of Mayor Goldney of Chippenham, depicts a worthy who did not come into office until 1853. It seems likely that Miss Fenton’s sale was principally of Lawrence’s work, but that Lucius, who, like Miss Fenton, had lodgings in his later years at Chandos House, included some of his own sculpture in the sale, including the Bagnell tableau and the Goldney bust. It is possible that sculptures by outsiders were included in the auction and wrongly credited to L Gahagan.

Info in the above paragraph from A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors.... 2009.

January 17th 1855, an sale by auction at Chandos Buildings, under a distress for rent (see Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette 11th January) 25th January 1855, appeal made in the Bath Chronicle to raise £24 for unpaid rent, after a severe loss and long illness, in his 81st year, after having lived in the city for 40 years.

I believe that the reference to the 1840 sale date is misleading. Lawrence Gahagan died in 1820, the reference to the late L. Gahagan in the sale catalogue must refer to Lucius who died in 1855. Miss Fenton is recorded on the Bath census for 1861at Chandos House. Lucius Gahagan died at Chandos Buildings, both of his children, Lucius II and Sarah died at Chandos House in 1866. The sale in January of 1855 refers to the same sale recorded as the undated Miss Fenton's sale.

There is a copy of the undated Fenton sale catalogue at the Royal Academy. Ref Code AND/16/166

Here follows scans of the Biographical Dictionary Yale 2009,  entries for Lawrence Gahagan - hopefully I am not breaching any copyright regulations by publishing them. I am now getting a little tired of the Gahagans and am feeling too lazy to transcribe the Fenton / Chandos House entries! I had no intention of writing about the Gahagan family in depth - but one thing led to another and as the current sources proved erroneous here are the results.

The above three pages have been scanned from A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660 - 1851.

Published by Yale 2009.

This is an invaluable publication for anyone interested in English Sculpture, but like all such publications needs revision from time to time as new research emerges.

This is true of the above pages which appear under the entry for Lawrence Gahagan, but in the light of the new information published on this blog, probably all the entries for the Chandos House Sale should now come under the entry for Lucius Gahagan.


 Charles James Fox (1749 - 1806) politician.

Signed L. Gahagan / Decebr 1st 1798 on the back of the right shoulder.

Also signed on the base at the back.

Height 59 cms width - 47.5 cms.

Described as terracotta ??

Presented by Sir Philip Sassoon 1938.

Currently at 10, Downing Street.


Portrait a l’antique of King George III

Inscribed "Pater Patriae" (Father of his Country) on the socle.

Signed, “L. Gahagan fecit”

 Further inscribed “& publish/ June 1st 1809 / no.12/ Cleveland Street / Fitzroy Square”

 Black coloured cast plaster height 25 inches (including original integrated socle).

Bust with Dealers Mallet of London.


The Bust of Horatio Nelson by Lucius Gahagan.

The identity of the sculptor of the bust of Nelson comes in an advertisement published in the "Morning Chronicle" on 12 April, 1806 (found on the British Library 19th century newspapers database):

LUCIUS GAHAGAN.– respectfully informs the Nobility and Gentry, that he is the only Professional Sculptor who ever was honoured with sittings for a BUST of the great LORD NELSON, having already sold upwards of 300 Casts, and also executed them in Marble and real Bronze, he hopes will be sufficient proof of the likeness being satisfactory. Casts of the above may be had of the Artist, No.5. Bentinck-street, Berwick-street, Soho, and nowhere else. Price one Guinea, or the size of Life Three Guineas each, to be paid for on delivery, The BUST of the Right Hon. WILLIAM PITT will be published in a few days.

by William Barnard
383 x 281 mm.
A Bust of Nelson by Lucius Gahagan.
British Museum.


Another Mezzotint after Barnard.


Very poor photograph of a bust of Nelson found in a garden in Great Pulteney Street. Bath.

Ascribed to Lucius Gahagan.

Now at Beckford's Tower, Lansdown, Bath.


Proof Engraving of the Bust of William Pitt by Lucius Gahagan.

by Edward Bell. c. 1800.


520 x 354 mm.


Engraving of Lucius Gahagan's bust of the Duke of Wellington.

227 x 145 mm.

Illustration to the Royal Military Chronicle 1st Dec. 1812.

After a painting by John Hoppner, RA.

British Museum.

Stipple and Etched Engraving of The Duke of Wellington.

by A Easto

After the bust of 1809 by Lucius Gahagan.

British Museum.


Pair of Massive Egyptian Figures.

in Portland Stone.

from the front of Bullock's Egyptian Hall, 170 -73 Piccadilly.

Lucius Gahagan.

Museum of London.

The Egyptian Hall was erected in 1812 and was the first piece of neo Egyptian Architecture in London. Demolished in 1905.

The grand hall of the interior was an extraordinary replica of the avenue at the Karnak Temple complex, near Luxor

This is a truly excellent website with practically everything you need to know about the Theatres and Music Halls of London.

After Thomas Hosmer Shepherd

Showing Bullocks Egyptian Hall on the South side of Piccadilly.

with the Massive Portland Stone Caryatids carved by Lucius Gahagan.

Steel Engraving.

115 x 155 mm.



Piccadilly looking East by Thomas Shotter Boys.

Showing Bullocks Egyptian Hall with the Caryatids by Lucius Gahagan on the South side


320 x 432 mm.


British Museum.


Trade Card - Lucius Gahagan.

15 May 1815.

British Museum.


 Genius erected with Commerce.

Lucius Gahagan.

Bath Stone.

1824 - 5.

In niches in the fa├žade of The former Auction Market and Bazaar,
Quiet Street, Bath.

The design attributed to Thomas Goodrich.


Sebastian Gahagan. ( - d. 1838).

Sebastian Gahagan worked in  London where by 1808 he became an assistant to Joseph Nollekens, carrying out the carving of many of his major works, including the statue of William Pitt for the Senate House at Cambridge (1809), and producing many copies of busts. 

In his very partial biography of Nollekens, JT Smith used the relatively small payments paid to Gahagan as evidence of the older sculptor's miserliness - Sebastian Gahagan was responsible for carving the statue of William Pitt for the Senate House, Cambridge - Nollekens exploited Gahagan, passing on only £300 of the £4,000 charged for Pitt’s statue and pedestal. 

J T Smith declared ‘Mr Nollekens paid him, I am sorry to say, a miserly small sum’ (Smith 1828, I, 368).  For versions of the bust of Pitt, which were almost certainly turned out with virtually no finishing by Nollekens, Gahagan and other assistants were paid about £25 each, while Nollekens received 120 guineas.

It would appear that he had become independent of Nollekens by 1816 when he produced his statue and monument of General Sir Thomas Picton for St Paul's Cathedral. 

In 1820 he produced the full length bronze posthumous portrait of Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent father of Queen Victoria.

In 1831 he made the statue of George IV for the Royal Exchange.

In 1809 he received a premium of £50 from the British Institution for Sampson Breaking his Bonds

He  exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1802 to 1835, mostly of designs for funerary monuments, with occasional portrait statues and busts. 

His address is given in the Academy catalogues as 58 Tichfield Street until 1816; 

33 King Street, Westminster, between 1817 and 1825; 

26, William Street, Regent's Park in 1833; 

57, Ernest Street, Regent's Park in 1834 and 

25, Little Clarendon Street, Somers Town (just North of Euston Road) the next year. 

At the time of his death he is described as "of Euston-square".

Like many contemporary sculptors working with intense competition in a very limited market, he was frequently in financial difficulties. J T Smith noted that Gahagan had appealed to him for help, but that Smith felt unable to assist. Gahagan also applied to the AGBI for relief. In 1835 he received a donation of eight guineas from the Council of the Royal Academy. The Academy awarded his widow an annual pension of £10, rising to £15 in 1875.

Gahagan died, aged 60, in 1838 and was buried in the parish of St Pancras (then in Middlesex) along with other members of the family, on 7 March of that year.

see -

The Statue of Edward Duke of Kent
by Sebastian Gahagan.
 Installed in Park Crescent, London in January 1824.
Stipple Engraving
 220 x 145 mm
Illustration to the New European Magazine, 1824.
British Museum.


The third brother Vincent Gahagan exhibited sporadically at the Royal Academy - his untimely death was caused by the collapse of the statue of Prime Minister George Canning on which he was working, whilst acting as an assistant in the studio of Sir Richard Westmacott R.A.(1775 - 1856). So far none of his works have been identified. He had a son Edwin, who also worked as a sculptor, again no works have been traced.

The Times - Palmers Index Autumnal Quarter 1831.

 Accidents Mr Gahagan who was engaged by Mr Westmacott in working on the gigantic statue of Mr Canning, from the rope holding up a portion of the figure giving way and killing him on the spot.

30 December p3 column 2: On Wednesday afternoon about 3 o'clock a most frightful accident took place at the establishment of Mr Westmacott the well-known artist in Brewer St, Pimlico, by which we are sorry to say Mr Gagan, Mr Westmacott's principal assistant lost his life. It will be remembered that Mr Westmacott was employed to prepare a full-length copper statue of Mr Canning to be placed on the pedestal in Palace Yard, Westminster. The figure which is of colossal dimensions standing about 12 feet high and weighing nearly 4 tons is in a very forward state, and on Wednesday afternoon Mr Vincent Gahagan and four of his assistants were employed in soldering a part of the statue which was slung up by a chain and tackle to a triangle, assisted by a windlass. Mr Gagan was in a stooping position near the figure when suddenly the rope broke, and melancholy to relate, the ponderous figure fell upon the unfortunate man and he was killed almost instantaneously although the men were not more than a minute removing the body from under the statue. Mr Parsloe the surgeon was instantly called in but life was extinct. We regret to state that the deceased has left a wife and family of six children to bewail his premature death. An inquest will be held on the body this evening.
Inquest reported in The Times 31.12.1831. Inquests - Mr Vincent Gahagan killed while modelling Mr Cannings statue 31 December p4 column2: Yesterday afternoon an inquest was held before Mr Higgs at the Kings Arms, Brewer St, Pimlico on the body of Mr Vincent Gahagan a most respectable and scientific man and head modeller in the works of Mr Westmacott at Pimlico, whose death was occasioned by the falling of Mr Canning's monument on Wednesday last. Charles Hawley of 6 Willis St Vauxhall Rd said the deceased had been in the employ of Mr Westmacott for the last 28 years, and on Wednesday last was assisting in removing the bronze figure of Mr Canning, when on raising it from the back to one side, the tackling broke, and it fell on the body of the deceased. From the evidence of the surgeon it appears his back was broken, and there was a compound fracture of the left leg. The effect of the accident was instantaneous death. The jury was occupied for several hours in consequence of a report that the deceased had come to his death by unfair means, but from the whole of the evidence it was clearly proved to be otherwise, and the jury returned the following verdict: 'Accidental death without the least suspicion attaching itself to any individual'. Deodend on the tackling 1s.
(Copy of Coroner's inquest, from Keeper of the Muniments, Westminster Abbey): Taken at the Kings Head, Dukes Row,Brewer St Pimlico, St Geo Han Sq, Friday 30.12.1831 on the body of Vincent Gahagan. Half past 3 in the afternoon. Vincent Gahagan and several other men on the 28 day of December in the foundry of Richard Westmacott at Brewer St, being with ropes, winch, tackle and triangle moving and turning a certain bronze metal figure or statue (intended as a likeness of the late Rt Hon William Canning dec) when it so happened that in hoisting, moving and turning the said bronze metal figure then there, the rope collar or sling by which it was then and there suspended, then and there accidentally casually and by misfortune broke, and by means thereof the said bronze metal figure then and there fell down, and the said Vincent Gahagan then and there unfortunately being underneath the said bronze metal figure, placing a wood skid under the same the said bronze metal figure went upon the said Vincent Gahagan and then there and thereby he received a mortal fracture of his pelvis and a compound fracture of his right leg of which said mortal fracture and compound fracture he the said Vincent Gahagan then and there died and so the jurors aforesaid on their oath aforesaid do say that the said Vincent Gahagan in manner and by the means aforesaid accidentally casually and by misfortune came to his death without the least suspicion against any person and that the said bronze metal figure, ropes, winch, tackle and triangle were moving to his death and are altogether of the value of one shilling and in the possession of the said Richard Westmacott (who is of South Audley St in the said parish, sculptor) or of his assigns or assigned. Witnesses: John Ladd, John Faithfull, BR Baker, Chas Smith, John Hoy, Joseph Hoy, Charles Holly etc
Witnesses: Charles Hawley of 6, Willis St, Vauxhall Bridge Rd, smith 'The deceased who was about 55 years of age was a modeller and sculptor in the employ of Mr Richard Westmacott who resides in South Audley St, his foundry is at Brewer St, Pimlico. Last Wednesday I was there and about 3 in the afternoon we were rolling a bronze figure of the late Mr Canning with ropes and a triangle. It was rolled from its back to its left side when it was on its left side then the toe of this figure touched the ground. To prevent the toe being bruised a piece of wood skid was placed by the deceased under the calf of the leg to keep the toe from the ground. Myself the deceased and 3 other men were engaged in this business the ropes were fastened from the right leg to the neck, we used the triangle and winch. The figure was rolled on the left side. The deceased to the best of my knowledge was placing the wood skid under the calf of the leg when the rope broke and the figure rolled back on its back. The deceased had not time to get out of the way and the drapery at the back of the figure which went on him and occasioned his death. He conducted the whole of the business and we dared not to say we extricated him in about 3 minutes. He said nothing excepting exclaiming 'Oh Lord get the jack'. The figure weighs about 4 tons and is the property of Richard Westmacott. He decided himself to order the rope to be used and he was cheerful at the time and had just before spoken of a supper we were to have together. The collar and sling broke, I placed it on by his desire, 3 men were at the engine winding at the time the collar broke. The deceased had told them to wind and they were on good terms with him as far as I know. I have been there about a year and a half. The collar or sling broke where it was in contact with the ring
Jeremiah Cook of 13 Castle Lane, labourer, 'That I am in the employ of Mr Westmacott. I was at the windlass 12 or 14 feet from the figure and when deceased was placing the skid under it the rope broke and the figure went on him. We soon got him from under it and I went for the doctor. The figure was being moved for the purpose of burning on a piece of the drapery. The deceased placed the collar or sling and it had been about for some time. We entirely conducted the business, we were all friendly and joking just before and the deceased was to have taken some of the supper we were to have had that night. Antonio ? as Italian also in the employ of Mr Westmacott was at South Audley St at the time and could not have known that the figure was to have then been turned.
Henry Wooldridge, pupil to Mr Parsloe of Upper Easton St, surgeon 'I was sent for about 1/4 past 4 last Wednesday. I went immediately and saw the deceased at Mr Westmacotts foundry. He was dead and had been so I suppose 2 or 3 minutes. The pelvis was broken and he had a compound fracture of the right leg. These injuries occasioned his death.
Wm Armitage of this house the Kings Arms in the employ of Mr Westmacott 'I was at the foundry on Wednesday when we had to move the figure. The deceased placed the ropes and he put the skid, when he stopped to look and the rope broke and he was hurt by the figure. He exclaimed 'Oh Lord get the jacks'. I have worked several years there. Everyone was sober and there was no ill-will to the deceased and we were all friendly. I was at the windlass at the time of the accident.
Verdict: accidental without the least suspicion against any person. Deodend one shilling.
Letter from Richard Westmacott at the time of the accident: 14 South Audley St, Dec 28 1831. Sir, I am sorry to say that an accident at my foundry Brewer St Pimlico which has terminated fatally requires your attention. It took place about 3 o'clock this day. The body which I believe I have done right in desiring not to be removed is on the spot where the poor fellow met his death.

Westminster, London 1822 Poor Law Rate Book gives the address  of Vincent Gahagan as 11 Molyneux Street.
His widow stated in her application to the Artists General Benevolent Institution that he was 'frightfully destroyed at Pimlico by the falling of the statue of the Right Hon. George Canning while working on the statue'. He was employed at time of his death by Sir Richard Westmacott. Left widow and 6 children totally unprovided for. At a special meeting of the directors of the Artists General Benevolent Institution October 10, 1832 his widow Maria Gahagan was awarded a donation of £20. Her case was recommended by Richard Westmacott and she produced specimens of work and her marriage certificate. Worked for Richard Westmacott for 28 years before his death.

The above from -

For Literature on the Gahagan Dynasty.

Graves, Algernon (1905). The Royal Academy: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors from its Foundations in 1769 to 1904.

  The Biog. Dict of Sculptors in Britain... pub. 2009.


Caleb Hillier Parry

Lucius Gahagan