Sculpture Journal

A family affair: John Bacon’s monument to Jane Russell, 1810-13

Sculpture Journal (2021), 30, (3), 303–322.

Abstract

Focusing on John Bacon the younger’s monument to Jane Russell, this article illuminates death and memorialization in early nineteenth-century British India, with a social history focus regarding issues of gender and family. The monument in its first iteration was lost at sea in a shipwreck, and a later replacement is still in situ in St Mary’s Church at Fort St George, in the former Madras Presidency. The narrative arc traces the life cycle of a memorial to a young woman whose husband and father were leading English East India Company employees, including its commission by correspondence, execution in the metropolis and transport to the Indian subcontinent. Russell’s death and its commemoration in visual and material culture were, it is argued, a family affair on various interpretative strata, including but by no means limited to the iconography of her marmoreal ‘deathscape’.

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Author details

Coltman, Viccy