Scottish & Italian
Overall diameter 25 inches roundel 12 inches
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A framed plaster portrait plaque of the Glasgow Reformist MP James Oswald, signed and dated Carlo Marochetti, 1842, of circular form, shown facing to the right within a black border and the original glazed giltwood frame.
Another version of this plaque is in the collection of Glasgow Museums and can be seen on the Art UK website
James Oswald (1779-1853) was a successful Glasgow merchant who later inherited various landed estates due to the early death of his cousin. Oswald was one of the first members of the Glasgow Bank when it was established in 1809. He traded largely in cotton and other raw textiles and in his spare time he commanded the Glasgow branch of the volunteer mounted Yeomanry. It was his political career however that captured the hearts of many of his countrymen and led to his eventually being immortalised in sculptural form.
The Liberal Party MP for Glasgow from 1832-1837, Oswald was a staunch opponent of Sir Robert Peel and a great supporter of the 1832 Reform Act. Indeed, he was amongst the first batch of Glasgow MPs to be appointed on the basis of universal male suffrage in the wake of the act being passed in to law. He returned to parliament again in 1839 and continued to serve until 1847, a consistent supporter of liberal causes. For this gentleman, described at the time as a “steady, consistent, honourable man” by the Caledonian Mercury to be immortalised in bronze by Marochetti, the same sculptor who created the Wellington monument is interesting given that the two men had radically different political beliefs. Their common importance to the people of Glasgow and their different impacts on British life at the time being the thread that links these two political titans of the period.
Baron Pietro Carlo Giovanni Battista Marochetti (1805-1867) was born in Turin but he lived a truly pan-European life, settling at times in Paris and London, as well as his native country. He was raised as a French citizen and received much of his formative artistic training in France, but his work was highly sought-after for both private and public monumental commissions and he was celebrated during his lifetime as one of the truly great sculptors of the 19th century. He excelled at sculpture in the 19th century neoclassical style and was commissioned to create both the Wellington sculpture and the sculpture of Oswald for the city of Glasgow. He also fulfilled countless European royal commissions including the effigies of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Frogmore. Perhaps his most famous English commission today might be the bronze lions at the foot of Nelson’s column which he designed in conjunction with Sir Edwin Landseer, casting them in his own London foundry in 1864.
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A framed plaster portrait plaque of the Glasgow Reformist MP James Oswald, signed and dated Carlo Marochetti, 1842