Saturday 29 October 2016

Model Making and Anti-Competitive Practices in the Late Eighteenth-Century London Sculpture Trade, by Matthew Craske

Model Making and Anti-Competitive Practices in the Late Eighteenth-Century London Sculpture Trade, by Matthew Craske. Published in the Journal of International Association of Research Institutes in The History of Art.

Today am posting a link to a very interesting article by Matthew Craske which concentrates mainly on the latter part of the 18th century but touches on the mid 18th century the period that I am currently focusing on in this blog.

In particular it goes into subcontracting by the chief sculptors of the period.

It has long been my suspicion that whilst Henry Cheere (1703 - 81) may have originally been a competent sculptor he was responsible for very little the work that emanated particularly in later years from his Westminster workshop.

I will in the future attempt to make a more detailed study of Cheere, his sculpture and his methods.

For much more on Cheere and other sculptors and funeral monuments of the mid 18th century see - The Silent Rhetoric of the Body by Matthew Craske pub. Yale. 2008.

It costs £50 - a copy is currently available on Amazon for £35.

This is a thoroughly researched work of scholarship on the Funeral Monument of the 18th century. If it has one fault it is that it suffers mainly from the same problems of any work on the subject of sculpture or any three dimensional subject in that it is almost impossible to do it justice in terms of illustrations, but should certainly whet the appetite of anyone with even a passing interest in 18th century sculpture.

There is now really no excuse for not including a CD or another form of digital information pack with the (very expensive) books on three dimensional art - a luxury not widely available when this work was published.

Craske has also been published on the subject of Cheere and subcontracting in the Lustrous Trade - edited by Cinzia Sicca and Alison Yarrington, pub. Bloomsbury, 2001.
Chapter 5 - Contacts and Contracts: Sir Henry Cheere and the Formation of a New Commercial Worl of Sculpture in Mid-Eighteenth Century London.


One of the main thrusts of this blog is to give the subject of 18th century sculptures much improved publicity and to make them more visible by providing  as many up to date photographs that I can, in order to give the viewer and enthusiast a much better idea of what the sculptor originally intended. A serious fault in even the most recent publications is that they rely on library photographs mostly taken in black and white and in studio settings using inappropriate lighting.

I sincerely hope that in publishing this blog that some young people will visit the subject and be inspired by it.

The other problem has been, although much less so now, obtaining permission to photograph these objects. Most museums and institutions now have a much more enlightened attitude than previously to the publishing of their holdings - I have myself recently found that The Royal College of Surgeons, Westminster Abbey and Trinity College, Cambridge have all unfortunately so far refused me permission to visit and photograph their sculpture.

I will try again in the near future.

No comments:

Post a Comment