Owl thumbnail 1
Owl thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery

Owl

Statuette
ca. 1850 - 1898 (carved)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The sculptor used a fine-grained white marble, which is good for carving delicate detail. He roughed it out with a claw chisel. This left distinctive clusters of parallel grooves, which you can still feel at the bottom by the owl’s right foot. He then used various sizes of flat chisel on their edge to cut in fine detail such as the feathers. To create areas of dark shadow, he used a drill. On the left leg, just below the feathers, there are two drill holes. There is a another large one under the left wing.

George Gammon Adams (b. 1821-1898) was a portrait sculptor and medallist. He designed and exhibited prize medals for the Great Exhibition. In 1852 he was chosen to model the death mask of Wellington. One of his public monuments is the 'Napier' statue in Trafalgar square.

The bust was among the items given to the Museum by I. D. Adams, the daughter of George Gammon Adams, in 1980. In total, 196 items were included in the Adams gift, which consisted of many models for medals as well as the busts and figurative sculpture. In most instances it is not possible to date conclusively the many models included in this gift.

Object details

Category
Object type
TitleOwl (generic title)
Materials and techniques
Marble
Brief description
Statuette, marble, Owl, by George Gammon Adams, England, ca. 1850-98
Physical description
Owl with beak open stands on a rocky base.
Dimensions
  • Height: 26.5cm
Credit line
Given by Miss I. D. Adams
Object history
Given by Miss I.D. Adams, daughter of George Gammon Adams in 1980.
Subject depicted
Summary
The sculptor used a fine-grained white marble, which is good for carving delicate detail. He roughed it out with a claw chisel. This left distinctive clusters of parallel grooves, which you can still feel at the bottom by the owl’s right foot. He then used various sizes of flat chisel on their edge to cut in fine detail such as the feathers. To create areas of dark shadow, he used a drill. On the left leg, just below the feathers, there are two drill holes. There is a another large one under the left wing.

George Gammon Adams (b. 1821-1898) was a portrait sculptor and medallist. He designed and exhibited prize medals for the Great Exhibition. In 1852 he was chosen to model the death mask of Wellington. One of his public monuments is the 'Napier' statue in Trafalgar square.

The bust was among the items given to the Museum by I. D. Adams, the daughter of George Gammon Adams, in 1980. In total, 196 items were included in the Adams gift, which consisted of many models for medals as well as the busts and figurative sculpture. In most instances it is not possible to date conclusively the many models included in this gift.
Bibliographic references
  • Thieme-Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon…., Leipzig, 1982, p. 73-74
  • Gunnis, R., Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, London, 1952, pp. 13-14
  • Bilbey, Diane and Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470-2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2002, p. 178, cat.no. 253
Collection
Accession number
A.131-1980

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Record createdApril 18, 2005
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