Thuner

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Thuner is the Frysian/Germanic god of thunder and oldest son of Weda (in the Scandinavian mythology his name is Thor)

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Limestone figure

Thuner, about 1728-1730, John Michael Rysbrack V&A Museum no. A.10-1985 Thuner by Rysbrack.jpg
Thuner, about 1728-1730, John Michael Rysbrack V&A Museum no. A.10-1985

Thuner is an imposing limestone figure carved by John Michael Rysbrack (1693-1770). Thuner, the god of thunder, is one of the seven Saxon gods, each representing a day of the week. It was carved circa 1730 for Sir Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham (1675-1749) for his garden in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. On the base of the sculpture, Thuner's name is carved in runes beneath a thunderbolt. Originally the statues were set around an altar in an open grove, known as the Saxon Temple at Stowe; later they were placed in Stowe's Gothic Temple of Liberty. They formed part of an important group of buildings and statuary erected by Lord Cobham during the 1730s, which embodied a political programme championing Whig beliefs in historic British liberty.

Rysbrack was one of the most important sculptors working Britain at this time. A native of the Netherlands, he came over to England in about 1720, and soon established himself as a sculptor of monuments, portraits and busts. The Saxon gods, however, are unique in his work; neither are similar figures known by any other sculptors.

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