The Sculpture is alive


Artist: John Thomas (Chalford, Gloucestershire - England, born 1813 - died 1862).

© Adrian von Ziegler - "The Candle Burns Down..." from the album Lifeclock.

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Name of the work: "Lady Godiva"

Author: John Thomas

Location: Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery is in Maidstone, Kent, England.

John Thomas was born in Chalford, Gloucestershire on England.

Was a British sculptor and architect, who worked on Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster.

Apprenticed to a stonemason after being left an orphan, he later went to Birmingham where his elder brother William Thomas (architect) was an architect.

He was noticed by Charles Barry who immediately employed John Thomas as a stone and wood carver on Birmingham Grammar School (now demolished), his first collaboration with Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin.

Barry later appointed him the Supervising Carver on the Palace of Westminster in London, on which he is responsible for all the figures of English kings and queens.

His work 'Charity' was shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and then adapted to form a memorial in Christ Church, Chalford, to his brother Richard who died in 1852.

His final work was the colossal statue of William Shakespeare displayed at the 1862 International Exhibition.

A dispute over its placement hastened his death in April 1862, and he was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

His massive (30 ft. high and 40 ft (12 m). in diameter) majolica fountain, also on display at the 1862 exhibition, was placed outside the V&A Museum of Childhood until it was demolished in 1926.


Godiva, often referred to as Lady Godiva, was an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants.

According to the popular story, Lady Godiva took pity on the people of Coventry, who were suffering grievously under her husband's oppressive taxation. Lady Godiva appealed again and again to her husband, who obstinately refused to remit the tolls. At last, weary of her entreaties, he said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, she rode through the town, clothed only in her long hair.

Just one person in the town, a tailor ever afterwards known as Peeping Tom, disobeyed her proclamation in one of the most famous instances of voyeurism. In the story, Tom bores a hole in his shutters so that he might see Godiva pass, and is struck blind.

In the end, Godiva's husband keeps his word and abolishes the onerous taxes.

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The Sculpture is alive

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Once someone asked a sculptor as could transform a block of marble in the statue of a beautiful woman.

And he answered that it was easy: the statue was already within the block.

"It was enough remove with the chisel everything that was not the woman." - M. Connelly

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