Room 22: Sculpture in Britain - Portraits & 'Ideal' Sculpture

Room 22: Sculpture in Britain Portraits & 'Ideal' sculpture

The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries

Many of the sculptures in this gallery represent mythological or allegorical subjects. These are sometimes known as 'ideal' sculptures, in contrast to historical subjects or portraiture. Made for display indoors, they became increasingly popular with British sculptors and patrons from the 1770s onwards. The portraits often show the sitters in the Neo-classical style, with cropped hair and loose drapery. Alternatively, the sitter might take on a role from a classical story. Mythological scenes may also include portraits of the patron's wife or children.

In the 18th and 19th centuries sculpture was often displayed in the orangery of a country house, or in a special sculpture gallery. This gallery, with views of the garden outside and daylight coming through the doors and windows, recalls those traditional methods of display.

Room 22 is on Level 1 of the V&A South Kensington.

Check the gallery closures page.

Objects you can find in this gallery:

The Medal Cabinet Appeal

We urgently need your help to raise £534,000 to save this rare and remarkable medal cabinet from export. We only have until July 2014 to acquire it and ensure its place in the national collections.

Help us buy The Medal Cabinet

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British Sculpture 1470-2000

British Sculpture 1470-2000

A catalogue featuring the unrivalled collection of post-medieval British sculpture in the V&A. The collection encompasses marble portrait busts an…

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Event - Close Observation Session

Tue 13 May 2014 15:30

Join V&A assistant curators Anna Moore, Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam, Danielle Thom and Emma Rogers from the Asian and Sculpture Departments as they display a selection of wonderful objects from the collection.

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