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ID number:  BIRBI-37.14
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Nost II, John (d.1729)
Title / Object name:  King George I on horseback
Object type:  Sculpture
Place made:  London
Culture:  Anglo-Flemish
Date made:  1717
Materials:  Bronze
Measurements:  290 x 278.5 cm

The City of Dublin commissioned this impressive sculpture from the Nost family workshop in 1717  for £1500 and completed by 1722, with the horse cast from moulds taken from Le Sueur’s Charles I at Charing Cross. At risk of destruction during the early years of Irish independence, it was sold to the Barber Institute in 1937 for just £500. It was erected in front of the building, an important landmark for the university, and the earliest public sculpture in the city. George I is shown in modern dress, but with a classical laurel crown and on a horse modelled after that of the celebrated Roman bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius.

Notes:  John Nost II (active 1686-1711/13). Paul Spencer-Longhurst’s attribution, as explained in his 1998 Sculpture Journal article on the monument, p.33: ‘The precise authorship of these figures of George I is difficult to determine because of the complicated succession at John Nost the Elder’s workshop after his death. … The commission for all four equestrian George’s must therefore have been given to the Nost firm, trading under the name of John Nost.’ However, as Greg Sullivan explains in his entries for John Nost I & II in the 2009 Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660-1851, pp.913-19, recent archival discoveries have untangled the knotted threads of the Nost workshop succession. It is now clear that John Nost II (d.1729), ran his cousin John Nost I’s (d.1710) workshop after the latter’s death, and was responsible for the Dublin (our) bronze cast of George I on horseback.

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