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Victorian Sculpture - HOA00016H

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Jason Edwards
  • Credit value: 40 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19 to Summer Term 2018-19

Module aims

Sculpture could be found everywhere in Victorian Britain: in galleries, museums and great exhibitions; in homes, parks, gardens and city squares; incorporated into a wide range of buildings, furnishings and other decorative objects; and depicted in a diverse array of other media. In spite of this, and while Victorian Studies has undergone a remarkable growth in the past decades, with exhaustive research into many aspects of 19th-century British culture, scholars have almost entirely overlooked Victorian sculpture, perhaps the single most significant British art form in the period. This module seeks to return Victorian sculpture to centre stage in discussions of 19th-century Britain and its colonies, and to illuminate the complex ways in which it functioned aesthetically, politically and socially.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have acquired:

  • Familiarity with a wide range of sculpture produced and exhibited in the period.
  • An ability to relate works of sculpture to a broad range of cultural historical issues, and political agendas, such as class, race, gender, sexuality, and species; and to related visual, literary and scientific texts.
  • An understanding of the main historiographical and theoretical approaches to the sculpture in the period, particularly its difficult position between 18th-century neoclassicism and Modernism.


Task Length % of module mark
Open Examination (3 day paper over 4 days)
Victorian Sculpture
8 hours 90
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral Seminar
N/A 10

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Open Examination (3 day paper over 4 days)
Victorian Sculpture
8 hours 90

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback on their formative work the following week.

Students will receive feedback on their summative work within six weeks.

Indicative reading

  • Benedict Read, Victorian Sculpture
  • Susan Beattie, The New Sculpture
  • David J. Getsy, Body Doubles
  • David J. Getsy, ed. Sculpture and the Pursuit of a Modern Ideal in Britain
  • Paula Murphy, Native Genius Reaffirmed: Nineteenth-Century Irish Sculpture
  • Deborah Edwards, Bertram Mackennal
  • Jason Edwards, Alfred Gilberts Aestheticism
  • Paul Atterbury. The Parian Phenomenon.
  • Elizabeth Eastlake, The Life of John Gibson.
  • T. Matthews, The Biography of John Gibson.
  • Marie Busco, Sir Richard Westmacott.
  • Marjorie Trusted, ed. The Return of the Gods.
  • Richard Barnes, John Bell.
  • John Physick, The Wellington Memorial.
  • Benedict Read and Joanna Barnes, eds, Pre-Raphaelite Sculpture.
  • Chris Brooks, The Albert Memorial.
  • Richard Dorment, Alfred Gilbert.
  • Richard Dorment, Alfred Gilbert: Sculptor and Goldsmith.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.