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Room 24: Sculpture in Britain - Portraits & Memorial Sculpture

Sculpture in Britain: Portraits and Memorial Sculpture, room 24

Sculpture in Britain: Portraits and Memorial Sculpture, room 24

The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries

Funerary monuments and portrait busts were the most common ways in which people were commemorated in sculpture. Sometimes the two were combined: a bust was placed on a funerary monument, or a copy of a bust on a church monument was displayed in the family house. The likeness might be taken from life or a death mask, or from some other source, such as a painting.

The way in which the male sitter was portrayed could signify his professional or aristocratic status, while ancient Roman dress implied his classical education. Women were more rarely depicted, and usually only in their role as the wife of an aristocratic husband.

In the first half of the 18th century, many sculptors active in Britain had trained on the Continent. They introduced new styles and forms from the Netherlands, France and Italy.

Room 24 is on Level 1 of the V&A South Kensington.

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