Design for the Sculpture of the Pediment of St. Georges Hall 1843

WAG 1896


Harvey Lonsdale Elmes (1814 - 1847), the architect of St George's Hall, seems to have relied on Cockerell for advice from the time that the building began in 1838. In 1843 Cockerell drew a sketch entitled 'Idea for the Fontispiece of a Publick Building in England', now in the collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Two preliminary drawings for this sketch are in the Cohen Library and University of Liverpool, and four more are in the RIBA. The builder, Professor Conway, believed that this sketch was originally intended for the Royal Exchange in London but Cockerell's assistant, JE Goodchild, denied that it had anything to do with the Royal Exchange. This drawing is based on the 1843 sketch that Cockerell produced. WG Nicholl started work on the sculpture in 1846 under the supervision of Sir Charles Eastlake. In 1848 or 1849, Alfred Stevens (1817-1875) was called in to make a drawing (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum) of the unfinished sculpture, probably recommending certain alterations which were carried out. The sketch was later lithographed (copies in the Walker Art Gallery WAG 1893 & WAG 1894). Stevens's share in the sculpture is however controversial. JE Goodchild denied that he made any contribution. The architecture in the drawing is not that of St. George's Hall. Possibly Cockerell was not concerned with architectural detail, only with the sculpture.