Displaying Victorian Sculpture is a major, three-year collaborative project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, that seeks to return sculpture to centre stage in discussions of 19th-century British culture, and to re-assert the importance of sculpture to Victorian history. While Victorian Studies has undergone a remarkable growth in the past two decades, with exhaustive research into many aspects of 19th-century British culture, scholars have almost entirely overlooked Victorian sculpture. The project focuses on the display of sculpture in 19th-century Britain and its colonies, in museums and galleries, public spaces inside and out, and in homes from royal palaces to suburban villas.
Addressing a range of objects from cameo brooches through Parianware statuettes to imperial monuments, Displaying Victorian Sculpture aims to reveal the diverse and significant social life of sculpture in 19th-century Britain; a social life both physical, in its weighty presence in public and private spaces around the world; and conceptual, as aesthetic and moral exemplar and as political art par excellence.
The project is led by the departments of History of Art at the University of Warwick and the University of York. It will also involve the participation of three regional collections: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow; National Museums, Liverpool; and National Museum, Cardiff. The project also funds two PhD theses; three annual workshops, in Glasgow, Liverpool and Cardiff respectively; and an edited collection of primary sources on Victorian sculpture.
Research undertaken on the project will contribute towards a major international exhibition of Victorian sculpture organised by the Yale Center for British Art, and curated by Martina Droth (Head of Research, YCBA), Jason Edwards (University of York) and Michael Hatt (University of Warwick). The exhibition opens at the Yale Center for British Art in Autumn 2014 and will move to Tate Britain in Spring 2015.