Geoffrey Morgan Maquette

Anthemion Auctions of Cardiff relish both their attraction to, and specialism in all things Welsh. For the Spring Fine Art Sale, a particularly unique piece is to be offered for auction in the form of a plaster bust by Welsh Sculptor William Goscombe John.

The bust is a maquette, (French for scale model), and effectively forms the rough draft of the head and shoulders which would eventually become a large bronze of British army officer and first Viscount of Tredegar, Godfrey Charles Morgan.

A maquette is effectively a prototype of a project, and is a valuable tool for an artist to practice and perfect the final effect that is to be achieved in the completed piece. Often, these preliminary works, with their evidence of the creative process, changing perceptions of the art, or even imperfections, can be as sought after as the finished product. The plaster bust is estimated to realise in the region of £1000-1500 at auction.

The finished equestrian statue of Godfrey Morgan in full military regalia atop an impressive steed, resides in Gorsedd Gardens, Cathays Park, in the civic centre of Cardiff. Morgan was born in Ruperra Castle Glamorganshire in 1831, and joined the British army in 1853. When the Crimean war broke out in 1854, he held the rank of Captain, and was in command of a section of the Light Brigade that rode into the “Valley of Death” at the Battle of Balaclava. In later years, he became a benefactor to the people of Newport, donating tracts of land for the benefit of the public, including the Royal Gwent hospital, Belle Vue Park and Newport Athletic grounds.

Both maquette and statue were created in 1909, but they show the Viscount during his Crimean war campaign 55 years earlier. Comparing the maquette with the final statue, it seems that Goscombe John may have tried to shave a few years off the honourable Viscount by trimming his moustache.

Sculptor Sir William Goscombe John was born in Canton, Cardiff in 1860. Initially attending the Cardiff School of Art, he went on to study at the City and Guilds of London Art School, and later in Paris. During his lifetime he was commissioned to design many public monuments, memorials, and statues of public figures in locations extending across Britain. In addition to Godfrey John, Goscombe was responsible for many monuments in the South Wales area, including the  Carmarthen County War Memorial, the Llanelli War Memorial, the Llandaff and Llandaff Cathedral School War Memorial and The Men of Penarth War Memorial.

The auction featuring the bust of Godfrey John takes place on the 24th of May; for any queries regarding this or other auctions, please contact the auction house on 02920 472444 or