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Bust - Catherine, Lady Stepney (d. 1845) as Cleopatra
  • Catherine, Lady Stepney (d. 1845) as Cleopatra
    Lucas, Richard Cockle, born 1800 - died 1883
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Catherine, Lady Stepney (d. 1845) as Cleopatra

  • Object:

    Bust

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1836 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Marble

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss A. Toomer

  • Museum number:

    A.8:1-1964

  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 22, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries, case P1

Lady Stepney was a novelist and London society hostess for writers and artists. Here she is depicted as Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt. The asp, which Cleopatra used to commit suicide, coils around her right arm. A letter to her from David Wilkie (1785-1841), dated 27 April 1836, records the installation of this bust at the Royal Academy. 'The bust of your Ladyship is placed on the right hand as you enter near the centre between the door and the window, Sir Francis Chantrey having taken as much care as he could of it. If the bust is adapted for that light, it is in other respects an excellent situation and on a level with the eye'. The bust was bequeathed to the Museum by a descendant of the sitter. A wax portrait of Lady Stepney, by the same artist, is also in the V&A.
It is made by Richard Cockle Lucas (1800-1883), who 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.

Physical description

Marble bust of Lady Stepney as Cleopatra, wearing a low cut gown, with her hands crossed and a snake encircling her wrist. The sitter's head is turned to her left. Ringlets escape from below a cap. The eyeballs are blank. She wears a low cut gown. Her hands are crossed. A snake encircles her left wrist. She wears a ring on her fourth finger of the left hand

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1836 (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Marble

Dimensions

Height: 67.3 cm, Weight: 52 kg, Diameter: 23 cm Socle

Object history note

Bequeathed by Dorothy Manners. (Given by Miss A. Toomer, Wayside, Bickwell Valley, Sidmouth, Devon in accordance with the wishes of the late Miss Dorothy Manners in 1964. At the donor's (Miss Toomer) request this object and A.9, 10 and 11-1964 are to be labelled as bequeathed by Miss Dorothy Manners. Miss Manners was a descendant of Lady Stepney.)

Descriptive line

Bust, marble, of Lady Stepney, by Richard Cockle Lucas, English, ca. 1836

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, pp. 327-8, cat. no. 496
Graves, A., The Royal Academy of Arts. A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904, (8 vols), 1905-1906, V, p. 106 (no. 1145)
Gunnis, R., Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, (revised edition, first published London 1953), London, 1968, p. 245
Walker, Susan and Peter Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt: from History to Myth, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001

Materials

Marble

Subjects depicted

Snake

Categories

Sculpture; Entertainment & leisure; Portrait

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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