Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Relief - Cupids as Caryatids

Cupids as Caryatids

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1730 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rysbrack, John Michael (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Terracotta in high relief

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 22, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries, case 1

This terracotta relief together with its pendant (Mus.no. 7717-1863) were made as sketch models for a larger composition in marble; this may have been a doorway, a grand chimneypiece, or perhaps a monument. Part of the finished work is in the Museum's collection (A.4-1990).

Rysbrack was born in Antwerp, and trained in the Netherlands, but spent his working life in Britain. He was one of the most important sculptors active in this country in the first half of the 18th century, and specialised in portrait busts and funerary monuments. Although he never visited Italy, many of his works are clearly indebted to classical archetypes. His terracotta models are particularly fine, and are often virtually finished pieces in their own right. Here it is interesting to note the slight changes which took place between the design of the terracotta relief and the final marble, especially in the areas of the moulding.

Physical description

Terracotta relief made as a sketch for a larger composition in marble, either a doorway or a grand chimney-piece. Two almost naked putti support an architrave, each with one arm raised. There is a pilaster to the right of the putti.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1730 (made)


Rysbrack, John Michael (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Terracotta in high relief


Height: 42 cm

Object history note

Bought, 6l. 6s.

Descriptive line

Relief, terracotta, of two putti supporting an architrave, perhaps by John Michael Rysbrack, England, ca. 1730

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

Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1863 In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 35
Maclagan, Eric and Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. Text. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1932, p. 157
Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Volume II: Text. Sixteenth to Twentieth Century. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964, p. 699
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.136, cat.no 186.




High relief

Subjects depicted



Ph_survey; Sculpture; Reliefs


Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.