NOLLEKENS, Joseph
(b. 1737, London, d. 1823, London)

Monument to Sir Thomas and Lady Salusbury

1777
Marble
Great Offley Church, Hertfordshire

Although the Neoclassical movement did not developed fully until the very end of the eighteenth century, the foundations had been laid some decades earlier when classical preoccupations and classical studies took a more serious archaeological turn.

The sculpture of the "pagan" inspiration was not limited to busts or figures but included the sepulchral monuments which were still the chief outlet for carvers. In these monuments any recognizable Christian allusions usually moved to the epitaph, and became virtually secondary to the lay tributes of relicts mourning their toga-clad deceased among obelisks, sarcophagi and classical vases. We can observe the transition in Nollekens' Salusbury monument, in which the noble Roman and his matronly lady still have some slight eighteenth-century humanity in their rendering. But by the turn of the century this had vanished.