- Extended Catalogue Entry
by Margaret Sarah Carpenter
oil on canvas, 1857
36 1/4 in. x 28 in. (921 mm x 711 mm)
Sitterback to top
- John Gibson (1790-1866), Sculptor. Sitter in 25 portraits, Artist associated with 12 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Margaret Sarah Carpenter (née Geddes) (1793-1872), Painter. Artist associated with 33 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
This portraitback to top
'The human figure concealed under a frock coat and trousers is not a fit subject for sculpture', said Gibson, the last great British neo-classical sculptor, who lived for most of his life in Rome and who in all his work attempted to embody abstract ideals through the human form. It was the example of Ancient Greek polychromatic sculpture which led him to produce the Tinted Venus which caused a sensation at the 1862 International Exhibition in London. In this portrait by Margaret Sarah Carpenter, Gibson is shown holding one of his sculpting tools.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 185
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 245
Events of 1857back to top
Current affairsPalmerston passes the Matrimonial Causes Act in the face of parliamentary opposition. The act establishes divorce courts, although women, unlike men, are not allowed to sue for divorce on the grounds of adultery.
The Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition is held, a follow-up to the Great Exhibition of 1851, although highlighting Britain's private art collections rather than industry and technology. More than 1.3 million people visit the event.
Art and scienceElizabeth Gaskell publishes The Life of Charlotte Brontë, a year after the author's death. The controversial biography consolidates the myth of the Brontë sisters as isolated geniuses living in remote Yorkshire.
Illustrator George Scharf becomes the first Secretary of the National Portrait Gallery, overseeing the collection's growth and its several moves around London before a permanent home is established in 1896, the year after Scharf's death.