Mr Thomas Nicholas Couldridge
|Member of the Department of Classics and Ancient History|
Research Project: A Sculptural Renaissance: Competing Classicisms in Visual Culture of the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries, c. 1870-1920
My project is concerned with the New Sculpture movement’s receptions of ancient sculpture during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This movement, often seen as having been prompted by Frederic Leighton and pioneered by the highly idiosyncratic Alfred Gilbert and other no less individualistic figures such as Edward Onslow Ford and William Hamo Thornycroft, was frequently described by contemporaries as a ‘renaissance’ of the art form in Britain – a characterisation that has recurred in later scholarly literature. Crucially, this was a ‘renaissance’ formed and theorised largely in opposition to the neoclassicism of the earlier nineteenth century and its idealised marbles, but these sculptors emphasised and engaged with different aspects of ancient sculpture through their experimentations with polychromy, patination, and the revival of cire perdue bronze casting. In doing so they both reflected and influenced important developments in our understanding of antiquity.