Sinuosity and Swagger

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Often seen, seldom noticed: the lead statues above rusticated granite gateways flanking the Bedford Tower in Dublin Castle’s Upper Yard. Designed by John van Nost the Younger (d.1780) and dating from 1753, they represent Justice and Fortitude: the former, as was often noted by wags in the past, resolutely turns her back on the city. Both have all the sinuosity and swagger of the rococo era, Fortitude in particular might have stepped straight out of a Tiepolo canvas. They are especially precious as the only remaining examples of van Nost’s public art (other work, such as the equestrian statue of George II that once stood in the centre of St Stephen’s Green, having long since been blown up or removed).

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4 comments on “Sinuosity and Swagger

  1. Peter Clarke says:

    The London Magazine (Dublin ed.) 2 Jan 1758: “Yesterday a fine statue of Justice with a sword in her right hand and a balance in the left, executed by Mr. Van Noest, was erected over the gate way into the Castle; and this day the statue of Mars was erected on a corresponding pedestal”

    • How interesting to read this, thank you. The customary date given is 1753 because of an account that he was paid that year for ‘statuary work’ at Dublin Castle. And in Strickland’s Dictionary of Irish Artists (1913) the date of November 1753 is given for the statues being placed in position. But perhaps otherwise…

  2. David says:

    There is a brilliant epithet for the lady justice statue – “‘There she stands, upon her station, with her face to the Castle and her arse to the nation”.
    There’s some more information about Van Nost here – http://comeheretome.com/2013/08/15/before-the-admiral-the-vanishing-statue-of-william-blakeney/

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