The Ancestors

We loved the new display of busts drawn from the Royal Academy’s stores and put together with intelligent irreverence by Cathie Pilkington and Alison Wilding. They are nearly all male ancestors in an immortal General Assembly.

It’s the death mask of Constable in the foreground:-

Although one is meant to view it as a ensemble, I found it hard not to try and identify some of the individual busts.

Sir Francis Grant was PRA in the 1860s and oversaw the move to Burlington House. His bust was done by his niece, Mary Grant:-

This is what he looked like in an accompanying photograph:-

Edward Armitage RA was a history painter. His bust (the one on the left) is by Sir Joseph Boehm Bt.:-

Sir Alfred Gilbert’s very recognisable bust of G.F Watts:-

Isabel Cholmeley, another female sculptor about whom nothing is apparently known, did a bust of John Gibson RA:-

The display is dominated by Dame Elisabeth Frink’s Goggle Head, the only work on loan;-


3 thoughts on “The Ancestors

  1. Richard Bram says:

    In Sir Francis Grant’s, one can see the joys of the sculptor’s or painter’s ability to slightly flatter the subject, in this case subduing his overbite. The photographer (Ms. Cameron?) did her best by careful positioning. The often-difficult verisimilitude of the photograph shows us why photography is often troublesome to sitters.

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