April 2016 | Matthew Nobbs, Communications and Marketing Volunteer


The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) offers some great examples of Coade Stone sculptures and statues which serve to show the best of British stoneware in the late 18th and early 19th Century. It was used for creating statues, ornaments and decorations in the neoclassical style. These creations were renowned for their quality and versatility as they remain almost unaffected by weather conditions.

The most iconic example of Coade Stone work at the ORNC is the Nelson Pediment, located at King William Court. Created in 1812 by Benjamin West based on his painting The Immortality of Nelson, the pediment is highly regarded as one of the greatest examples of the use of Coade Stone. An Architectural Tour of the Pediment will soon be taking place for ORNC Angels and Patrons.

Nelsons Pediment, located at King William Court.

The Chapel at the ORNC also includes a number of fine examples of Coade Stone sculpture, including four life size statues depicting the four virtues of Charity, Meekness, Hope and Faith, these statues were created by notable sculptor John Bacon. The pulpit of the Chapel is also decorated with Coade Stone medallions. The Chapel was renovated extensively with Coade Stone following the fire of 1779.

A Coade Stone Medallion depicting the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Marble sculptures can also be found on site at the ORNC, the most iconic of these is the statue of George II located in Grand Square near the water gate. The statue has been weathered since its installation in 1735 – showing why the interest in Coade Stone occurred later in the century.

The Chapel is home to the Sir John Franklin Memorial, sculpted in marble to commemorate the loss of Sir John Franklin as well as the crews of the ships Erebus and Terror. The floor of the Chapel was also renovated following the 1779 fire, it was re-laid in the intricate patterns of black and white marble that you will see today. Find out more about the renovation here.

Visiting the Old Royal Naval College is, as always, free of charge. So search below to plan your visit or find out more.

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