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Relief - Pluto and Proserpine
  • Pluto and Proserpine
    Physick, Edward James, born 1829 - died 1906
  • Enlarge image

Pluto and Proserpine

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1849 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Physick, Edward James, born 1829 - died 1906 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast plaster

  • Credit Line:

    Presented by Belinda Physick in memory of her father, David Physick

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In classical mythology Proserpine was the daughter of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture. Proserpine had been collecting flowers with her female companions when Pluto, the god of the underworld, fell in love with her and seized her while she was collecting flowers with her female companions. Pluto – struck by Cupid’s arrow – carries Proserpine to the underworld where she becomes his wife.

Physick, active in the 19th century, won the Royal Academy Gold Medal in 1850 for a relief entitled The Rape of Proserpine, probably this piece. He later also exhibited the same work at the Great Exhibition of 1851. The energetic composition recalls the work of Giambologna, in particular his Rape of the Sabines, in the Piazza della Signora, in Florence, a figure group Physick would have known. He was working and studying in Italy at around 1850

Physical description

This relief shows a group of four lightly draped figures, three female and one male. One female lies on the ground and another is being picked up by the male. There is a flying Cupid in the background.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1849 (made)


Physick, Edward James, born 1829 - died 1906 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cast plaster


Height: 124 cm, Width: 107 cm, Depth: 23 cm

Object history note

Presented by Belinda Physick in memory of her father, David Physick, in 2005.

Descriptive line

Relief, cast plaster, Pluto and Proserpine, by Edward James Physick, Britain, 1849

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Williamson, Paul, ‘Recent Acquisitions (2000-06) of sculpture at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London’, in: The Burlington Magazine, CXLVIII, December, 2006, p. 893, fig XIII

Subjects depicted



Sculpture; Great Exhibition; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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