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Title: Classical sculpture and the English interior, 1640-1840 : purpose and meaning
Author: Guilding , Ruth A.
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2000
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The 2nd Earl of Arundel was the first English collector to imitate directly Italian Renaissance collections, creating sculpture displays in Arundel House and its gardens in the 1640s which became famous throughout Europe . Translated into the quasi-domestic context, classical sculpture represented the veneration of the cultural and political mores of ancient Rome and Greece, the props and justification of political power, but could also be portrayed as an inspirational 'body of history' augmenting civic culture, as 'national treasure' and exemplars for the improvement of the arts, carrying the onus of granting opportunities for their public consumption . Arundel 's displays were piously recreated, at Wilton House, Easton Neston and the University of Oxford, but subsequent collectors adopted the Palladian format, based on Roman architectural vocabulary, as the convention for display until c.1760 . Dependent on symmetry and niche architecture, Palladian displays required full-length statues, or copies and casts of the best works in the antique canon. Outside the context of the 'atrium '/entrance hall. where busts and statues could stand as putative ancestors, sculpture continued to hold the same resonances, but in these controlled and formalised settings its significance could be diminished to that of grand furniture. The more intensive antiquarianism of the Enlightenment gradually eclipsed such resonances. From the 1760s, tastes broadened to encompass the works of Piranesi, inscriptions, funerary sculpture, and non-classical antiquities, placed in 'Museum' room displays . In the last full-blown aristocratic galleries, at Castle Howard, Woburn, Petworth and Chatsworth, between 1800-c.1840, marble antiquities were juxtaposed with modern sculpture, to convey a political message, or as antique exemplars. The cachet of ownership increased: Charles Townley's reputation was entirely vested in his antique marbles; his housemuseum at Park Street acquired a quasi-public status, becoming the model for the first public sculpture galleries, when his marbles were bought by the British Museum.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available