Sculptor. He was born in Turin, but brought at an early age by his lawyer father to France. He studied sculpture under Francois-Joseph Bosio. His one attempt at the Rome Prize of the École des Beaux Arts proving a failure, he went to study in Rome at his own expense, and is said to have spent time in the studio of Bertel Thorvaldsen. Marochetti’s earliest works were in the neoclassical style, but after the revolution of 1830 he increasingly identified with the romantic school of sculptors. Under the July Monarchy, he was favoured by the new government with prestigious commissions; a relief of The Battle of Jemappes (1834) for the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, and a colossal group of the Elevation of Mary Magdalen, for the high altar of the church of La Madeleine (1843). In 1838 Marochetti’s equestrian statue of the sixteenth-century Duke of Savoy, Emanuele Filiberto, was exhibited in the courtyard of the Louvre, before going off to its final destination, the Piazza S. Carlo in Turin. After its inauguration there in the same year, Marochetti was made a Baron of the Kingdom of Sardinia. His reputation suffered in France when it was discovered that he was to be commissioned, without competition, to create the tomb of Napoleon for the Invalides, but between 1840 and 1844 he was already establishing his reputation in the British Isles with the creation of an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington for Glasgow. After the Revolution of 1848 he moved to London, where he became a favourite of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. Marochetti’s equestrian figure of Richard Coeur de Lion was shown outside the western entrance to the Crystal Palace in 1851, and was later cast in bronze and erected in Old Palace Yard, Westminster. He set up his own foundry in South Kensington and produced many statues and church monuments for locations throughout the British Isles. Statues and memorials by him were also erected in British India, and he was paid a large sum of government money for the Crimean War Memorial (1856) at Scutari in Turkey. Although pursued by controversy, Marochetti continued to receive prestigious commissions, especially from the royal family. After Prince Albert’s death, he was commissioned to produce the tomb with double effigy for the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore. His colossal statue of Albert for the Albert Memorial was, however, regretfully turned down by the Queen and her advisors, after Marochetti’s death, and the job was given instead to John Henry Foley. During his English period, Marochetti experimented with polychromy. He became ARA in 1861 and RA in the year of his death.
Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. xv, xvi, xviii, xx, xxx–xxxii, 84, 350, 424, 426, 428, 429, 430–32; Illustrated London News, 11 January 1868, p46 (obit.); F. Lloyd et al, Public Sculpture of Outer South and West London, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 112–13; R. McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, pp. 126–32, 134–36, 336–39; E. Morris and E. Roberts, Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside, Liverpool, 2012, pp. 63–66; G.T. Noszlopy and F. Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, Liverpool, 2010, pp. 26–27, 112–14; I. Roscoe et al, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851, New Haven and London, 2009; Times, 4 January 1868, p. 9 (obit.); P. Ward-Jackson, ‘Marochetti, (Pietro) Carlo Giovanni Battista, Baron Marochetti in the nobility of Sardinia (1805–1867)’, ODNB, (2004), 2008; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster. Volume 1, Liverpool, 2011, pp. xxvi, xxxiv, 7, 167–72, 187, 188, 193, 196, 198, 199, 311–13, 395–98; D. White and E. Norman, Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, Liverpool, 2015, pp. 17–18.
Philip Ward-Jackson 2023
Baron Carlo Marochetti, albumen carte-de-visite by Camille Silvy, 31 March 1861, private collection
(photo: public domain)