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Shop By Category. The latter was not completed until the Third Republic The young, ambitious sculptress went right to the top with her request for commissions, when in late she addressed a letter to the Imperial couple. That same year, she received the commission for the entire sculptural decoration of the impressive interior staircase to the former library, known as the Lefuel Staircase after the supervising architect Hector Lefuel.

The commission involved at least eleven big stone bas-reliefs with allegories of the arts and sciences, and spread over several floors fig.

I hope the same will be true for any further work you could and would give me. At least, I will always do my best, as the best recompense for an artist is certainly the approval of his judges. Claude Vignon , Autumn, Paris, Palais du Louvre, Escalier Lefuel. The groups were removed in and are now lost. Claude Vignon , Children and decorations Enfants et rinceaux , Yet precisely when a new generation of sculptresses emerged to take over from their less numerous predecessors, commissions for public sculpture started to decline, partly as a reaction against the so-called statuomanie—the erection of too many statues in Paris.

Many women were employed in this lucrative area of sculpture production, which probably gave a new impetus for women to become sculptors. Even if, during the Third Republic, sculptresses were less involved in the large sculptural projects, such as those inspired by the centenary of the French Revolution and of the Republic, some women artists managed to secure commissions in the city center. The favor that I ask for would be a precious encouragement for me, and would be very useful in helping me continue this career that is thankless and difficult always, but especially for a woman.

In contrast with Paris, many London outdoor sculpture projects were private initiatives, especially those projects in which female sculptors were involved; the initiative for those projects often came from female patrons. An example is the monument for the blind professor and postmaster Henry Fawcett, designed by Mary Grant — , and inaugurated in on the Victoria Embankment, which was constructed by the Metropolitan Board of Works fig. The marble memorial was placed along Broad Walk, one of the main lanes in Kensington Gardens in front of Kensington Palace where Victoria was told that she would ascend to the throne , and is thus exceptionally visible, even from afar.

Even though women sculptors had made several earlier objects for the London public space, as we have seen, this was the first one with such a size and impact.

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While most of the retraced public works by sculptresses in London date back to this period, they were chiefly the result of private initiatives. Waterloo Place, for instance, was lined with statues on high pedestals, including a bronze statue of polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott fig.

The monument was an initiative of Royal Navy officers and financed by public subscription. The unequal placement of the two statues is directly related to the difference in hierarchy of their respective sculptural genres—the full-length statue versus the equestrian statue—which, in turn, is linked with the difference in importance of the persons portrayed. London, St. What is surprising, however, is the small difference in the total number of public sculptures by women in London and in Brussels, in view of the much larger difference in population.

That Brussels had to wait much longer for its first sculptures made by female artists had less to do with the history of urbanism than with the fact that there were few female sculptors in Belgium until the end of the nineteenth century, although more public commissions would probably have stimulated the number of sculptresses in the country.

The relief was never cast in bronze and put in place, however, and the plaster cast ended up in the storage of the Jubelpark Museum. Do the spaces where sculptures by women are found coincide with those urban spaces where, from the mid-nineteenth-century onwards, middle- class women became increasingly present and gained more visibility, like shopping streets, certain parks or cultural buildings? Starting from the observation that many statues made by women are closely linked to buildings, one wonders, in the first place, about the nature of the adjoining architecture.

About one ninth of the retraced sculptures for the period to , around twenty-five objects, can be linked to religious architecture, and this percentage almost doubled to one fifth in Though a male-dominated institution, the church has long known a tradition of female devotion and patronage. In the nineteenth century, especially, women fulfilled social and philanthropic activities within the context of the church.

In the church the activities of female patrons and artists sometimes came together. Claude Vignon adorned the porch of the new neoclassical church of Saint-Denis-du-Saint-Sacrement in the Marais district of Paris with four cardinal virtues , yet again in relief.

Paris, Church of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul 10th arr. London, Kensington, St. Mary Abbots Church, ambulatory. It was her teacher Octavia Hill, a notorious social reformist and a committee member and patron of both London institutions taking care of impoverished single women and widows, who made sure Rope got the commissions. Although there are about a dozen earlier funeral sculptures by women on record, most date from the s and s, when there was a high demand for funeral sculpture.

Sculptresses practiced several types of funeral sculpture of which the largest group is comprised of portraits—busts, reliefs, or medallions fixed to the tombstone or stele. The persons commemorated in these portraits are mostly men who had gained a certain public celebrity, such as politicians, artists, writers or scientists. Not all portrait sculptures in cemeteries are of men; some are of women but not necessarily women of note, but rather relatives of the artist.

Paris, Montparnasse Cemetery, 6th division. It should not come as a surprise that these are among the most moving sculptural productions by women. Paris, Montmartre Cemetery. Most patrons opted for traditional funeral monuments, and for portrait likenesses of the deceased. This seemed to suit sculptresses. Already rebellious in their choice of profession, most of them were trying to remain within the accepted artistic and stylistic boundaries, rather than trying to cross them.

Bronze and stone. Many of the works produced for these locations, which were visited by the cultural elite of Paris, were portrait busts. Inside, however, there were at least eight sculptures by women, including five of the seventy-one visible busts inside. All these busts are to be seen in the second-floor mirror rotunda, where they once formed the background for the festive gatherings of Le Tout Paris.

Garnier had designed special chandeliers to light the sculpture in this otherwise dark spot. Marcello , Pythia, The present article demonstrates that in major nineteenth-century metropolises, such as Paris and London, women, beginning in the late eighteenth century, produced sculptures for the public space.


That women were commissioned to execute permanent sculptures for the public space seems to challenge the age-old dichotomy of the public and private spheres, the former, associated with masculinity, the latter with femininity and all its nineteenth- century corollaries—such as passivity, modesty, and chastity. With few exceptions, women sculptors seem to have worked in lesser valued genres, formats, and media, and their works often ended up in venues of secondary importance.

Their sculptures were more often placed inside public or semi-public buildings than outside, and of those placed outside, only a few are prominently placed on pedestals in large squares or in parks. In spite of these limitations, they left us a few exquisite pieces of public sculpture.

Marjan Sterckx received a Ph. Her Ph. She has lectured and written on a variety of topics, including women sculptors, Constantin Meunier, and the photographic reproduction of nineteenth-century statues. Notes The author wishes to thank Dr. Sculpturen door vrouwelijke beeldhouwers in de grootstedelijke publieke ruimte Parijs, Londen, Brussel, ca.

Translations are by Raf Erzeel and photographs are by the author unless otherwise indicated. I focus here on the sculptures that were installed in the public space with the explicit intent to have them stay there permanently. In , however, a complete change took place as regards this point, by a decision of the House of Lords, which ruled that public libraries were literary societies or institutions for the purposes of the ''lacome Tax Act of ,'' under which such institutions were granted exemption from the payment of income tax.

A full report of this case and decision is printed in the Library for , in the Times, law reports and elsewhere. The effect of this decision was to remove any doubt from the mind of the Registrar of Friendly Societies, who has power under the Act to grant certificates exempting public libraries from the payment of local rates, and as a result many libraries obtained certificates, and now enjoy complete or partial exemption.

It is not necessary to quote the Act of , which can be obtained for one penny from the King's printers, but the procedure requisite for obtaining a certificate of exemption may be noted. With this must be enclosed a copy of the rules and regulations of the library, signed by the chairman and three members of com- mittee, and countersigned by the clerk or librarian. These rules must include the following, or others in similar terms : — 1.

It is best to send printed copies of the rules, and it should be noted that three identical copies, all signed, must be sent. On these the registrar endorses his certificate, and sends one to the Clerk of the Peace for the district, one to the library authority, and retains one. Seal of Registry of Friendly Societies.

The application should show that annual voluntary contributions of money, books and periodicals are received, but there is no direction laid down as to the amount of voluntary contributions which will pass muster. The point is somewhat vague, but it may be assumed that the amount received from gifts, subscrip- tions,' sales, books, periodicals, etc. As the English Registrar accepts donations in kind as annual voluntary contributions, it is only necessary to value these to make up a respectable sum. A caretaker's or librarian's residence would in all probability be separately assessed, if the certificate were otherwise recognized.

By a decision of a Court of Quarter Sessions at Liverpool in , it has been decided that the Corporation of Liverpool is liable for local rates on a library building ; but it is not possible to say how far this may affect libraries holding these certificates. Legislation is pending, and till something is definitely settled, the question must remain open. To ascertain insurable value take the cost of buildings at the contract price, including all charges which would have to be incurred again for rebuild- ing ; furniture at the contract price ; lending library books at 3s.

An allowance is sometimes made for depreciation, but a full covering value is always safe. The policy will state these various items separ- ately for purposes of insurance, but will likely charge a uniform percentage on all. Library buildings form a safe risk, and unless in a case of temporary premises with bad surroundings.

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Some offices return the premium once in five years or so by way of bonus. Insur- ance policies should be revised every few years to keep pace with the growth of the library. Paintings, valuable MSS. The same may be said of temporary exhibitions, especially of 38 Sec. Plenty of fire-buckets should be provided in public library buildings to cope with the first outbreak of fire.