Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) author, biographer, and historian

Thomas Woolner (1825 - 1892)

Plaster cast medallion

1855
  • About the work
    Location
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Scotland Office, Dover House, Whitehall

    This portrait medallion represents author, biographer and historian Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). The original version was exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, in 1856 and is now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. A bronze version, which is in the collection at Carlyle's House, in London, is probably the medallion Woolner exhibited at the Academy the following year.

    While at Oxford in 1856, William Morris financed and published a short-lived but intellectually ambitious publication called ‘The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, conducted by Members of the two Universities. The only illustrations issued in connection with the magazine were two photographs of medallion portraits by Woolner; one depicting Carlyle and the other, the poet Alfred Tennyson. These illustrations were printed and sold separately.

  • About the artist
    Sculptor Thomas Woolner was born in Suffolk but later moved to London. From 12 he was apprenticed to painter Charles Behnes, followed by his brother, sculptor William Behnes. In 1842 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, where he met Rossetti. With Rossetti, Millais, Holman Hunt and others he formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. He emigrated to Australia in 1852 to try gold prospecting, later working as a sculptor in Melbourne. After receiving no major commissions, he returned in 1854 and persuaded Tennyson to sit for him. He produced architectural work, public statues, church memorials and imaginative pieces in England and throughout the Empire. He was elected RA (1874) and appointed Professor of Sculpture (1877). He died at 66.
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    People
    Carlyle, Thomas
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  • Details
    Title
    Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) author, biographer, and historian
    Date
    1855
    Medium
    Plaster cast medallion
    Dimensions
    height: 23.00 cm, width: 23.00 cm, depth: 5.20 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from Jeremy Maas Gallery, December 1971
    Inscription
    bc: T.Woolner.Sc.1855.
    Provenance
    With Daniel Shackleton (fine art dealer) of Dundas Street, Edinburgh; from whom purchased by J. S. Maas & Co. Ltd., London, on 9 September 1971; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in December 1971
    GAC number
    9448