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Bust - Sir Henry Cole KCB (1808-1882)
  • Sir Henry Cole KCB (1808-1882)
    Boehm, Joseph Edgar Sir, born 1834 - died 1890
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Sir Henry Cole KCB (1808-1882)

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1875 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Boehm, Joseph Edgar Sir, born 1834 - died 1890 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Sir Henry Cole was the founder and first Director and Secretary of the South Kensington Museum (part of which was to become the V&A). He played a leading role in the running of the Museum from its inception after the Great Exhibition in 1851 until his retirement in 1873. This sculpture was purchased from the sculptor in 1883 soon after Cole's death for 50 guineas. Cole recorded eight sittings for Boehm in his diary for 1875, presumably for a version of this bust. Several other versions of the bust are known in marble, metal and plaster. Cole is shown in contemporary dress, and his relatively informal demeanour perhaps reflects the more naturalistic style of sculpture which had been introduced by French artists who had come to work in London during the Paris Commune in the early 1870s, notably Jules Dalou (1838-1902), who taught at the National Art Training School (now the Royal College of Art) in South Kensington for several years. Boehm was a native of Vienna and trained in Paris and Italy as well as London before settling in London in 1862. He was favoured by Queen Victoria, and taught sculpture to her daughter, Princess Louise.

Physical description

Cole is shown in contemporary dress and relatively informal demeanour.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1875 (made)


Boehm, Joseph Edgar Sir, born 1834 - died 1890 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 71.5 cm, Width: 51 cm, Depth: 31 cm

Object history note

Purchased from the sculptor in 1883 for £52 10s [50 guineas].

Descriptive line

Bust, terracotta, Sir Henry Cole, K.C.B., by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, England, 1875

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

Bilbey, Diane with Trusted, Marjorie, British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2002, p. 201, cat. no. 286
List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1883. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1884. pp. 66
c.f Bonython, E. King Cole. A picture portrait of Sir Henry Cole, KCB 1808-1882. London: V&A, 1982
c.f. Physick, J. The Victoria and Albert Museum. The History of its Building. London: V &A, 1982
c.f. Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Publications, 1997
c.f. Bonython and Burton. The Great Exhibitor: the Life and Work of Henry Cole. London: V&A Research report, 2001
Stocker, M. Royalist and Realist. The life and work of Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm. New York and London, 1988. pp. 366, 407
Graves, A. The Royal Academy of Arts. A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904. I. East Earsley, 1905-6. p. 219, no. 1453
Illustrated Catalogue of the National Gallery of Victoria. Melbourne, 1908. pp. 48. no. 120
Magazine of Art. 1891. p.xlvi
Thieme, U, Becker, F. Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Kunstler. 4. Leipzig. pp. 195




Sculpture Collection

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