Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951


The University of Glasgow, Victoria and Albert Museum and Henry Moore Institute have announced the launch of a free access online database and mobile interface: Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951.

Mapping Sculpture is the first comprehensive study of sculptors, related businesses and trades investigated in the context of creative collaborations, art infrastructures, professional networks and cultural geographies.

This investigation, carried out in seventeen cities across Britain and Ireland over the last three years, has brought forward a mass of evidence concerning practitioners and businesses as well as mapping significant changes in the forms, techniques, materials, displays and teaching methods of sculpture.
The database includes information on c.3,500 sculptors, c.10,000 related businesses, c.15,000 objects, c.1,300 exhibitions, c.700 other events, c.125 art societies, c.125 art schools and c.16,500 locations which will provide a major new resource for studying sculpture.

The project has also launched Mobilising Mapping, a new mobile interface giving access to the database from a variety of handheld devices.

Numerous queries can be run quickly and efficiently on the database, such as:

• Performing rapid searches to find information on 3,500 sculptors and a further 2,750 associated practitioners

• Investigating up to 15,000 sculptures and objects made by sculptors (including vases, silverware and church furnishings) shown at more than a thousand major annual exhibitions across Britain and Ireland

• Exploring particular materials and techniques. For example entering the search term ‘wax’ returns information on: people and businesses working in wax; objects made using wax as one of the materials; art schools offering courses in wax modelling; and the titles of exhibitions that included wax objects

• Browsing by location to find artists associated with a village, town or city. Although the project was focused on seventeen cities1, Mapping Sculpture uncovered and documented connections to nine hundred and fifty other places in Britain, Ireland, Europe, Asia and North America.

Although Mapping Sculpture is primarily an art historical project, its methods and findings will assist the studies of a wide range of students in arts related subjects. These are a few examples of the project’s inter-disciplinary potential:

• History – explore emergent national and regional identities in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and northern England in the second half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries

• Gender studies – the work of women sculptors is documented for the first time, revealing that almost a third of the 3,200 sculptors active between 1851-1951 were women

• Visual culture – changes in exhibiting practices, art markets and networks of production

To find out more about the project and discover new information about sculptural practice between 1851-1951 visit the Mapping Sculpture website

The mobile interface website can be found here.

Mapping Sculpture is a partnership between University of Glasgow Institute of Art History, the V&A and Henry Moore Institute together with TRIARC (Trinity Irish Art Research Centre), Dublin and the University of Ulster.

For further information please contact:
Ann Compton
Project Originator and Director,
Mapping the Practice and Profession
of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951 History of Art

School of Culture and Creative Arts
University of Glasgow
8 University Gardens
Glasgow, G12 8QH

10. May 2011 by jane furness
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