Greece and Rome at the Crystal Palace: Classical Sculpture and Modern Britain, 1854-1936

Hardcover | April 26, 2015

byKate Nichols

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The marble halls of the British Museum might seem the natural habitat for classical sculpture, but in the nineteenth century its sombre displays were far from being the only place that people encountered antiquities. From 1854, a rival collection of classical sculpture, comprising plastercasts from major European museums and scaled down architectural features, was on show in the South London suburb of Sydenham, in the Crystal Palace which had housed the Great Exhibition of 1851. By the late 1850s, two million visitors were passing through the glass doors of the Sydenham CrystalPalace each year, more than twice as many as recorded at the British Museum. Many more people, and from a greater variety of social strata, saw the painted cast of the Parthenon frieze in Sydenham than the original in Bloomsbury.Utilizing an extensive variety of archival material, including diaries, scrapbooks and photographs, Greece and Rome at the Crystal Palace evokes visitor experiences at Sydenham, and examines the discussion that arose around the presentation of classical plaster casts to a mass audience. It uncoversthe social, political, and aesthetic role of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture in modern Britain, assessing how classical art figured in debates over design reform, taste, beauty and morality, class and gender, and race and imperialism.

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The marble halls of the British Museum might seem the natural habitat for classical sculpture, but in the nineteenth century its sombre displays were far from being the only place that people encountered antiquities. From 1854, a rival collection of classical sculpture, comprising plastercasts from major European museums and scaled dow...

Kate Nichols is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Research in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Cambridge.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1 inPublished:April 26, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199596468

ISBN - 13:9780199596461

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Table of Contents

Preface and AcknowledgementsList of IllustrationsList of AbbreviationsIntroductionPart I: Leisure and Learning1. A New Audience for Greece and Rome2. Showing off Archaeological Knowledge3. Reproducing Greece and RomePart II: Sculpture and the Benefits of Good Taste4. Greek Sculpture and Nineteenth-Century Commerce5. Greek Sculpture, Beauty, and MoralityPart III: An Unattainable Model?6. Greece, Rome, and the Modern British NationConclusionAppendices 1-5ReferencesIndex