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Sketch model for the poets and musicians frieze of the Albert Memorial

Model
1864 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This plaster sketch model in relief is made by Henry Hugh Armstead (b. 1828; d. 1905) in 1864.

It is the original plaster sketch-model for the central section of the south side of the podium of the Albert Memorial. Armstead made these one twelfth-scale models in order to test the content and arrangement of the frieze. A full-size model was then made-up, from which Armstead worked on the marble base of the podium. There are few differences between the model and the finished frieze. The frieze was designed in 1864 and carried out on the monument, in Campanella marble, between 1866 and 1872. The north and west friezes, representing Architects and Sculptors, are by John Birnie-Philip.

Francis Haskell and Stephen Bayley have suggested that the two sculptors were allowed considerable freedom in selecting the figures to be represented and deciding how they should be arranged (Armstead arranged the figures on both his friezes in groups according to geographical schools, whereas Philip arranged the Architects and Sculptors chronologically). However, George Gilbert Scott, the architect of the memorial, must have given the sculptors some guidance, they worked under the control of the Memorial Committee and Sir Charles Eastlake was appointed to advise on all artistic matters relating to the treatment of the frieze by the Queen in 1864.

These friezes were probably influenced by Paul Delaroche's murals in the Amphithéâtre in the Hemicycle at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris (1836-41), which depicts sixty-six artists from Classical Greece up to the age of Louis XIV grouped around Ictinus, Phidias and Apelles. Armstead's notebooks, in the Royal Academy archive, show that undertook a great deal of detailed research in order to produce, as far as possible, physiognomically accurate portraits.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Modelled plaster
Brief Description
Model relief, plaster, for the poets and musicians frieze of the Albert Memorial, by Henry Hugh Armstead, England, London, 1864
Physical Description
The plaster model for the frieze of poets and musicians for the south side of the Albert Memorial. In the centre is Homer, seated playing a lyre, between Dante and Shakespeare. On the left Pythagoras, Virgil, Cervantes, Moliere, Corneille, St. Ambrose and Guido d'Arrezzo are represented. Chaucer, Milton, Goethe, Schiller Bach, Gluck and Handel are depicted on the right hand side.
Dimensions
  • Height: 53cm
  • Width: 173cm
  • Depth: 10cm
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'ST AMBROSE'
  • 'GUIDO D'AREZZO'
  • 'CORNEILLE'
  • 'MOLIERE'
  • 'CERVANTES'
  • 'VIRGIL'
  • 'DANTE'
  • 'HOMER'
  • 'SHAKESPEARE'
  • 'MILTON'
  • 'GOETHE'
  • 'SCHILLER'
  • 'BACH'
  • 'GLUCK'
  • 'HANDEL'
  • 'PYTHAGORAS'
  • 'CHAUCER'
Credit line
Given by Mrs. Sarah Armstead
Object history
The original plaster sketch-model for the central section of the south side of the podium of the Albert Memorial. Armstead made this one twelfth scale model in order to test the content and arrangement of the frieze. A full-size model was then made-up, from which Armstead worked on the marble base of the podium. There are few differences between the model and the finished frieze. The frieze was designed in 1864 and carried out on the monument, in Campanella marble, between 1866 and 1872. The north and west friezes, representing Architects and Sculptors, are by John Birnie-Philip.



Francis Haskell and Stephen Bayley have suggested that the two sculptors were allowed considerable freedom in selecting the figures to be represented and deciding how they should be arranged (Armstead arranged the figures on both his friezes in groups according to geographical schools, wheras Philip arranged the Architects and Sculptors chronologically). However, George Gilbert Scott, the architect of the memorial, must have given the sculptors some guidance, they worked under the control of the Memorial Committee and Sir Charles Eastlake was appointed to advise on all artistic matters relating to the treatment of the frieze by the Queen in 1864.



These friezes were probably influenced by Paul Delaroche's murals in the Amphithéâtre in the Hemicycle at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris (1836-41), which depicts sixty-six artists from Classical Greece up to the age of Louis XIV grouped around Ictinus, Phidias and Apelles. Armstead's notebooks, in the Royal Academy archive, show that undertook a great deal of detailed research in order to produce, as far as possible, physiognomically accurate portraits.



Given by Mrs. Sarah Armstead.
Production
Attribution note: sketch-model
Subjects depicted
Summary
This plaster sketch model in relief is made by Henry Hugh Armstead (b. 1828; d. 1905) in 1864.



It is the original plaster sketch-model for the central section of the south side of the podium of the Albert Memorial. Armstead made these one twelfth-scale models in order to test the content and arrangement of the frieze. A full-size model was then made-up, from which Armstead worked on the marble base of the podium. There are few differences between the model and the finished frieze. The frieze was designed in 1864 and carried out on the monument, in Campanella marble, between 1866 and 1872. The north and west friezes, representing Architects and Sculptors, are by John Birnie-Philip.



Francis Haskell and Stephen Bayley have suggested that the two sculptors were allowed considerable freedom in selecting the figures to be represented and deciding how they should be arranged (Armstead arranged the figures on both his friezes in groups according to geographical schools, whereas Philip arranged the Architects and Sculptors chronologically). However, George Gilbert Scott, the architect of the memorial, must have given the sculptors some guidance, they worked under the control of the Memorial Committee and Sir Charles Eastlake was appointed to advise on all artistic matters relating to the treatment of the frieze by the Queen in 1864.



These friezes were probably influenced by Paul Delaroche's murals in the Amphithéâtre in the Hemicycle at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris (1836-41), which depicts sixty-six artists from Classical Greece up to the age of Louis XIV grouped around Ictinus, Phidias and Apelles. Armstead's notebooks, in the Royal Academy archive, show that undertook a great deal of detailed research in order to produce, as far as possible, physiognomically accurate portraits.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • The National Memorial to His Royal Highness the Prince Consort. 1873.
  • Stephen Bayley. The Albert Memorial in its Social and Architectural Context. London: Scolar Press. 1981. pp. 67-86.
  • List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the Years 1905 - 1908. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, During the Year 1906, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices. London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, 1909, p. 28
  • 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.181, cat.no 256
Collection
Accession Number
178-1906

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record createdNovember 10, 1999
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