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Plaque - The Crouching Venus
  • The Crouching Venus
    Lucas, Richard Cockle, born 1800 - died 1883
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The Crouching Venus

  • Object:

    Plaque

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1840 - ca. 1865 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lucas, Richard Cockle, born 1800 - died 1883 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory carved in high relief

  • Museum number:

    199-1865

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is an ivory plaque made by Richard Cockle Lucas in ca. 1840-65 in Britain. The plaque is carved in high relief and represents the Crouching Venus.
Richard Cockle Lucas (1800-1883) is mainly known as a sculptor in wax and ivory, but he also worked in glass, marble and bronze, as well as being a painter. Lucas began his career as a sculptor as an apprentice to his uncle, who worked as a cutler in Winchester, carving knife handles. He joined the Royal Academy Schools in 1828 and studied under Richard Westmacott. Lucas made two models of the Parthenon, in its original state and after the explosion of 1687, which were acquired by the British Museum. He is best known for his small scale works including wax sculptures and ivory carvings. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1829 and 1859 and showed ivory carvings and imitation bronzes at the Great Exhibition in 1851.

The Crouching Venus is based on a classical source, the Hellenistic life- size marble figure of Venus/Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, after a lost Greek original, which was famed as an ideal female nude in Europe from the baroque period onwards. This figure is known in a number of versions, one of which has been in the British royal collection since the seventeenth century, and is now on long-term loan to the British Museum, London (Haskell and Penny 1981, cat. no. 86). In his small ivory relief, Lucas shows the kneeling figure nude save for the armlet on her right arm. Her right knee leans on an irregularly shaped stone, and a line of rippling water (not seen in the antique source) is shown beneath her bent leg. Her elaborately coiffured head turns towards the viewer, though she looks downwards towards the water, perhaps in the act of bathing, and seems in this respect more modest than the classical prototype, where the figure looks outwards, engaging directly with the spectator.

Physical description

Ivory plaque carved in high relief depicting the crouching Venus. The relief is carved on an oval form, which itself is set on an integral rectangular backing with trimmed corners. In his small ivory relief, Lucas shows the kneeling figure nude save for the armlet on her right arm. Her right knee leans on an irregularly shaped stone, and a line of rippling water (not seen in the antique source) is shown beneath her bent leg. Her elaborately coiffured head turns towards the viewer, though she looks downwards towards the water, perhaps in the act of bathing, and seems in this respect more modest than the classical prototype, where the figure looks outwards, engaging directly with the spectator.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1840 - ca. 1865 (made)

Artist/maker

Lucas, Richard Cockle, born 1800 - died 1883 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Ivory carved in high relief

Dimensions

Height: 6.1 cm, Width: 5.1 cm

Object history note

Given by Richard Cockle Lucas in 1865, through Lord Palmerston, one of 33 works by Lucas received by Richard Redgrave on behalf of the Museum on 17 June 1865.

Descriptive line

Medallion plaque, ivory in relief, the Crouching Venus, by Richard Cockle Lucas, Britain, ca. 1840-65

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

Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 125
Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1865. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 33
Roscoe, I., with Sullivan, M.G. and Hardy, E., A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660 to 1851, New Haven, 2009, p. 765
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 178
Droth, Martina, Edwards, Jason, and Hatt, Michael, Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837-1901, exh. cat., YUP, New Haven and London, 2015, pp. 208-209

Materials

Ivory

Techniques

Carving

Categories

Plaques & Plaquettes; Sculpture; Myths & Legends; Reliefs

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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