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Sketch model for the painters frieze of the Albert Memorial

  • Object:

    Model

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1864 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Armstead, Henry Hugh, born 1828 - died 1905 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Modelled plaster

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs. S. Armstead

  • Museum number:

    179-1906

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This sketch model by Henry Hugh Armstead is the original plaster sketch-model for the central section of the east 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. The composition of the finished frieze on the memorial does not differ significantly from this model. 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.

Physical description

This plaster frieze depicts famous painters. In the centre is Raphael, seated on a throne, between Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo; then follow on the left Masaccio, Ghirlandaio, Fra Angelico, Giotto, Orcagna and Cimabue; while to the right are Bellini, Titian, Mantegna, Veronese with a greyhound, Tintoretto, Corregio and Annibale Carracci. The figures are all represented in the dress of their own times and some hold books or pallets or other implements.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1864 (made)

Artist/maker

Armstead, Henry Hugh, born 1828 - died 1905 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Modelled plaster

Dimensions

Height: 52 cm, Width: 175 cm, Depth: 8 cm

Object history note

The original plaster sketch-model for the central section of the east 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. The composition of the finished frieze on the memorial does not differ significantly from this model. 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. S. Armstead.

Descriptive line

Model relief, plaster, for the painters frieze of the Albert Memorial, by Henry Hugh Armstead, England, London, 1864

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

The National Memorial to His Royal Highness the Prince Consort. 1873.
Francis Haskell. 'Un Monument et ses Mystères. L'art français et l'opinion anglaise dans la première moitié du XIXe siecle'. Revue de l'Art, No. 30, 1975, pp.61-110.
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. 29
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 257

Materials

Plaster

Techniques

Modelling (forming)

Categories

Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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