The V&A reports, at length,
This marble figure group was made for the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, and was originally housed in a specially designed Temple of the Graces.
It was commissioned from Antonio Canova by John Russel, 6th Duke of Bedford, who visited the sculptor in his studio in Rome in 1814, and was captivated by the group of the Three Graces which Canova had carved for the Empress Josephine, the estranged wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. She had died in May of that year, and the Duke offered to buy the group from Canova, but Josephine's son claimed it, and that version is now in the Hermitage, St Petersburg.
The Duke commissioned a second version from Canova; this was begun in 1814, finished in 1817, and installed at Woburn in 1819. Canova came over to England to supervise the installation. In the Temple it was displayed on a pedestal adapted from an earlier marble plinth, with a rotating top.…
The Three Graces was purchased jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, John Paul Getty II, Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the National Art Collections Fund, an independent charity, and numerous donations from members of the public. V&A