Sculpture collection

Summary: 70 works - around 40% marble busts, 30% plaster casts and 30% bronzes, ranging from 16th to 21st century.

Towneley has a good collection of sculpture on display throughout the house from wood carvings of the 16th century to work of the 21st century. A museum sculpture trail to show how the collection has grown over the years is available as a pdf from www.atoz.myzen.co.uk/museum/downloads .

The first gifts in the museum's early years were five marble busts, given by Edward Stocks Massey, to enhance the Entrance Hall and the first purchases were plaster casts to furnish the chapel in 1905. The 1920s saw the commissioning of two busts by Alfred Gilbert and the long term loan of the Towneley family busts, which were finally purchased inthe 21st century.

An early marble copy of the Italian Venus by Canova has been on loan from the Starkie family of Huntroyde since 1933. This large sculpture has remained in place in the Red Drawing Room ever since due to its size and weight. For the same reason, most of the other marble sculptures are rarely moved and are always on display.

Those sculptures that are not on display, many being in poor condition, are stored in unsuitable conditions in the cellars. There are no conservation plans.

The basic details for all the sculptures are recorded in the Modes database. Index cards for sculpture were started in 1973 but are incomplete.


Author: tk - August 2016