The Cult of the Statuette in Victorian Britain

6th November 2000
Lotherton Hall

The late Victorian era witnessed a significant revival of interest in sculpture. In addition to the rediscovery of work from various earlier periods, a new school of British sculptors came to the fore. One of the most characteristic features of these so-called ‘New Sculptors’ was their growing insistence upon the importance of the production and consumption of statuettes. Indeed, the movement sought to emphasize the relevance of sculpture to contemporary bourgeois life, and complicated considerably the conventional role of sculpture as either public monument or rarefied gallery piece. In addition, the idea of ‘Sculpture for the Home’ located the statuette at the centre of a wide variety of hotly-contested debates, ranging from the meanings of the contemporary nude to conceptions of the ‘decorative’. This symposium will attend to these issues and aims to enhance our understanding of the production, consumption and reception of the statuette in late Victorian Britain.

Speakers will be Dr Jason Edwards (York University), Dr Martina Droth (Reading University) and David Getsy (Northwestern University, Chicago). The event will be chaired by Profesor Alex Potts (Reading University) and Ben Read (Leeds University).

To coincide with the symposium, there will be a small exhibition of Victorian Statuettes in the rooms of Lotherton Hall (6 - 30 November)