Lecture 14.05.19 'The Royal Collection in Three Dimensions: Adventures of a Sculpture Cataloguer'

SirJMarsdenMay2019 cFoCHSir Jonathan Marsden gave a talk at the Embassy of the Czech Republic on Tuesday 14th May 2019, entertaining the guests with stories from behind  the scenes of the Royal Sculpture Collection. 

He presented some of the lessons learned from working on a catalogue raisonné of European sculpture in the Royal Collection to be published by Royal Collection Trust in 2020. The catalogue will embrace some 1500 works, ranging in date from around 1500 to the present day, in marble, bronze, terracotta, plaster and other materials. The collection contains great masterpieces by Cellini, Adriaen de Vries, Canova and others, but although it is extremely well documented it has never been fully published.

MarsVenus A.Canova1 HM Queen Elizabeth II SMALLThe catalogue will throw new light on the tastes of successive monarchs, their dealings with artists, and their varying approaches to the art of sculpture. The creation of sculpture takes longer than work in other media, and there is more scope for mishaps and misunderstandings along the way.

The talk also presented discoveries, re-attributions and new identifications that have arisen in the course of the lecturer's work.

Sir Jonathan Marsden is a Former Director of the Royal Collection. He was the very first guest speaker at the start of the Friends' fundraising in 2007. We appreciate his further support for the Friends' work. He gave undoubtedly one of the best, most humorous and best enjoyed talks The Friends have ever organised.


Images, upper, Sir Jonathan on the podium for our event; lower, 'Mars and Venus' by Canova ©HM Queen Elizabeth II (2018)

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