A Putto holding the Crown and Coat of Arms of Ireland 

Creator(s):   Grinling Gibbons 1648-1721; Arnold Quellin born 1653 (style of)

Date:    c1686

Accession Number:    A.4-1973

Dimensions:   Height: 95.6 cm, Width: 69.2 cm, Weight: 100 kg

Materials:   Marble

Location:   V&A

Credit Line (copyright notice for material) :   © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Online Catalogue Entry :

Caption Text goes here


Marble relief of a A Putto holding the Crown of Ireland. The naked putto, looking towards his left, stands on a leafy mound. He supports with both hands a crown which surmounts a large auricular cartouche. On the cartouche there is a harp.

This relief showing a putto holding the crown and coat of arms of Ireland forms a pair with that showing a putto holding the crown and coat of arms of Scotland (Museum no. A.3-1973). The shape, subject and style of both suggest they may have formed part of an altarpiece erected in Whitehall Palace during the short reign of James II, who was a Roman Catholic.

The altarpiece at Whitehall Palace was dismantled following the fire of 1695, and re-erected as the high altar of Westminster Abbey in 1706. In about 1820 it was moved to Burnham-on-Sea, in Somerset. The figurative style of the putti recalls both the surviving fragments from the altarpiece at Burnham-on-Sea, and other known works by Grinling Gibbons and Arnold Quellin.

Although celebrated as a carver of wood sculpture, Gibbons also produced a number of marble church monuments. During the period in which Quellin worked with Gibbons, some important pieces were produced; Quellin had been trained in the Netherlands and was highly skilled as a marble carver. Gibbons may have met him in Amsterdam, where he too probably trained.