Object Details




Joseph Nollekens (English, 1737 - 1823)




England, Europe (Place created)





Object Number:



124 × 50.8 × 50.8 cm (48 13/16 × 20 × 20 in.)

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Venus, goddess of beauty and love in ancient mythology, leans on a tree trunk to remove her remaining sandal. She turns inward, drawing the viewer in to examine her nude body. Carved fully in the round, the figure provides views from multiple angles.

Along with statues of Minerva and Juno, Venus illustrates the subject of the Judgment of Paris, drawn from ancient mythology, when Paris was asked to judge which of the three goddesses was the most beautiful. Venus, here carved in a satiny white marble and in the greatest state of undress, won.

possibly 1776 - 1782

Charles Watson-Wentworth, second marquis of Rockingham, English, 1730 - 1782 (London, England), commissioned by him from Nollekens as part of the Judgment of Paris group, displayed in his Grosvenor Square House (London, England), by inheritance to his nephew William Wentworth, fourth earl Fitzwilliam.
Source: Penny, 1991, p. 28, refers to payments to the artist and p. 23, mentions the 1782 inventory for the location.

1782 - 1833

William Wentworth, fourth earl Fitzwilliam, English, 1748 - 1833 (Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire, England), brought from London to Wentworth Woodhouse between 1782 and 1802, by inheritance within the Wentworth Fitzwilliam family.
Source: The sculpture was seen at Wentworth Woodhouse in 1802 by Richard Warner (Warner, A Tour through..., vol. 1 (1802), pp. 219-20).

1833 - 1986

Wentworth Fitzwilliam Family (Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire, Enland) [sold, Christie's, London, July 15, 1986, lot 84, to Cyril Humphris]

1986 - 1987

Cyril Humphris, S.A. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1987.


Warner, Richard. A Tour through the Northern Countries of England and the Borders of Scotland. Rev. ed. (Bath: R. Cruttwell 1802), vol. 1 (1802), pp. 219-20 (mentioned among statues at Wentworth Woodhouse).

Tancred Borenius, ed. Vol. 5, Umbrian and Sienese Masters of the Fifteenth Century (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1914), p. 136 (mentioned as Venus taking off her sandal).

Whinney, Margaret Dickens. Sculpture in Britain, 1530-1830 (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1964), p. 159.

Gunnis, Rupert. Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660-1851 (London: The Abbey Library, 1968), p. 277.

Graves, Algernon. The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and Their Work from Its Foundation in 1769 to 1904 (1905; repr., London: S.R. Publishers LTD. And Kingsmead Reprints, 1970), vol. 3 (1970), vol. 3 (1970), p. 381.

Seddon, Richard. "Some Payments by an 18th Century Collector." The Antique Collector (1972), p. 81.

Christie's, London. Important European Sculpture and Works of Art. July 15, 1986, pp. 64-65, lot 84, ill.

Whinney, Margaret Dickens. Sculpture in Britain, 1530 to 1830. John Physick, ed. Rev. ed. (London: Penguin Books, 1988), p. 288, 290, fig. 204.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 218.

Penny, Nicholas. "Lord Rockingham's Sculpture Collection and The Judgment of Paris by Nollekens." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 19 (1991), pp. 5, 23, 27, 30-32, figs. 22, 25a-d.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 268-69, ill.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 36, ill.

Fusco, Peter, Peggy Anne Fogelman, and Marietta Cambareri. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: European Sculpture (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1998), pp. 96-97, no. 34, ill., entry by Peggy Anne Fogelman.

Baker, Malcolm. Figured in Marble: The Making and Viewing of Eighteenth-Century Sculpture (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), pp. 36-37, fig. 22.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 269, ill.

True, Marion. "Changing Approaches to Conservation." In History of Restoration of Ancient Stone Sculptures, Symposium at the J. Paul Getty Museum, October 25-27, 2001. Janet Burnett Grossmann, ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), pp. 3-4, fig. 2B.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), pp. 250-51, ill.

Roscoe, Ingrid and Emma Hardy, eds. A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660-1851 (London: Yale University Press, 2009), pp. 897, 904, no. 156.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 298, ill.

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