Sculpture – form, function, material and memory

What's on

Sculpture – form, function, material and memory

Sculpture – form, function, material and memory

Wednesdays 13 February – 6 March, 11am – 1.30pm

The Wallace Collection is remarkable for its inclusion of every art form, but is most celebrated for its paintings, ceramics and furniture. Somehow sculpture always sits in the background, despite the wealth of wonderful works on display. Given that March 2019 will see the opening of an exhibition devoted to the works of Henry Moore, who was enormously inspired by visits to the Wallace when he first came to London, now is the time to take sculpture more seriously. The course will look at varied aspects of sculpture, from the different ways in which artists use the third dimension to the uses of sculpture itself, and from a broad exploration of the different materials from which works can be carved, modelled, cast or constructed, to a focussed look at a very specific genre of sculpture, the portrait bust. We will consider sculptures from all periods of the Wallace’s own collection up until the present day, with each session consisting of an hour’s talk in the lecture theatre, followed by a visit to the galleries themselves. On the final day this will include a preview of the Henry Moore exhibition before it is open to the general public.  Taught by Richard Stemp.


1. Looking in Depth

The major difference between painting and sculpture is that painting is flat but sculpture is not. But how three-dimensional does an art-work have to be to be classified as a sculpture? And what can the different ways in which artists have used space tell us about the meaning and location of the works in question?


2. The Function of Sculpture

Most of the sculptures in the Wallace Collection were not made as works of art in their own right, but as part of something else – we will consider the different uses to which sculpture has been put, and how the function affects their appearance.


3. Material values

The traditional view of sculpture as ‘high art’ was that it would be made of either marble or bronze – but what were the reasons for these choices? And how come every other material from which sculpture has been made was discounted? We will think about all the different materials artists chose to make the sculptures in the Wallace Collection, and the reasons for those choices, and add in some alternative materials from the present day.


4. Something to Remember

Following on from the second week’s talk we will look at one of the chief functions of sculpture, the portrait.  We will examine the history of this genre, tracing it from effigy to likeness, and look at some of the best examples in the Collection itself.  As the history of portrait sculpture stretches to the present day, will consider modernist examples in the lecture theatre, and take the opportunity of a preview of the Henry Moore exhibition, which will open to the general public the following day.

Date & Times

Date Start Time End Time
13/02/2019 11:00 13:30

Ticket Information

Ticket type Price
General Admission £140
Concession £126
Book tickets