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Probably by Edward Hodges Baily, Victory

Key facts
Full title Victory
Artist Probably by Edward Hodges Baily
Artist dates 1788 - 1867
Group West Entrance Sculptures
Date made 1826-32
Medium and support Portland stone
Acquisition credit Commissioned by the Office of Works for the Marble Arch, and installed on the Gallery by 1838
Inventory number H211
Location Gallery Exterior: West Entrance
Collection Contextual Collection
Probably by Edward Hodges Baily

This Victory, along with the female figures to its left and right, is the work of the British neoclassical sculptor, Edward Hodges Baily. Together with another five similar figures, they adorn the façade of the National Gallery.

In 1826, Baily received a large order for sculpture, including four statues of ‘Victories’, for Marble Arch, which was to be erected in celebration of Britain’s defeat of the French in the Napoleonic Wars. Although Baily completed his commission, not all of his work was used as originally intended; some parts ended up adorning other government buildings. During the construction of the National Gallery, its architect, William Wilkins, was forced in a cost-cutting exercise to recycle masonry and statuary from other projects. This explains the presence above the West Entrance of this statue personifying Victory, accompanied by two female figures, even though all three pieces were initially created for the Marble Arch commission.

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West Entrance Sculptures

The National Gallery’s West Entrance is surmounted with a figure of Victory, framed by another full-length, draped female figure in each of the niches to left and right. As this pair of flanking figures do not carry any attributes, it is hard to identify who they represent. All three statues are the work of the British neoclassical sculptor Edward Hodges Baily. They were not made for the National Gallery, but were commissioned by King George IV for other structural projects in central London - in the case of the Victory figure, for the Marble Arch, a monument intended to celebrate Britain’s defeat of the French in the Napoleonic Wars.