Next Meeting

Next Meeting

Friday 24 May 2019 at 6.30 pm


Charles Wilson Building, Park Lounge (1st Floor) and Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 3




Professor Alison Yarrington

Re-presenting the past: the Sculpture Gallery at Chatsworth

Alison Yarrington is Professor of Art History at Loughborough, specializing in the history of British art and sculpture c.1750-1914, including sculpture’s display histories, the Anglo-Italian marble trade, and, more broadly, British-Italian cultural transactions and the history of collections and collecting. She has taken leading roles in two major collaborative projects: as academic adviser to the Chatsworth Sculpture Gallery redisplay project which is the focus of her lecture this evening, and as Principal Investigator for the AHRC and British Academy- funded project Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, with the Institute of Art History, University of Glasgow, the V&A and the Henry Moore Institute. Her publications include studies of public sculpture, women sculptors, country house collections and galleries, and specifically on Anglo-Italian exchange, The Lustrous Trade with Cinzia Sicca, and Travels and Translations: Anglo-Italian Cultural Transactions, co-edited with Stefano Villani and Julia Kelly.

Alison was awarded a BA in Fine Art and History of Art at the University of Reading and then completed a PhD at Darwin College, University of Cambridge. Her first post was a lectureship in the History of Art at the University of Leicester where she was later promoted to a Personal Chair and then elected Dean of the Faculty of Arts. She was appointed Richmond Chair and Head of the Department of Art History at the University of Glasgow in 2003, where she was also Honorary Keeper of Fine Art of the Hunterian Gallery and Museums. In 2011 she was appointed Professor of Art History and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Hull. She moved to Loughborough in 2014 where she has recently completed her term as Dean of the School of the Arts, English and Drama. Alison is Membre Titulaire of CIHA [Comité International d'Histoire de l'Art] and Chair of its UK National Committee. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London, of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and FRSA. Among her external roles she is a Lay Governor of Glasgow School of Art, chairing GSA’s Museum and Archive committee, a member of the Board of the School of Advanced Study, University of London and is a Trustee of the PMSA. She sits on Art UK’s ‘Your Sculpture’ Steering Panel and the Advisory Board of the Sculpture Journal (LUP). She is on the Council of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society and was its President 2016-17.


Re-presenting the past: the Sculpture Gallery at Chatsworth

In her lecture Professor Yarrington will talk about the Sculpture Gallery at Chatsworth which is a part of the development of Chatsworth by William Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire in the 19th century.

At the heart of the development was a major building project: the new North Wing designed by Sir Jeffry Wyatville constructed over the period 1820-1840.  This included a new library, state dining room, sculpture gallery, orangery and a theatre: a suite of elite spaces devoted to pleasure, possession and play that interacted with the pleasure grounds and gardens. The housing and display of the 6th Duke’s continually evolving and expanding collections, created a shifting and rich interplay between architecture, art, mineralogy, horticulture, scent, music, and light. As an inveterate traveller his collections and their display were formed with a deep and direct knowledge of other major European collections of contemporary art. A decade since completion of the redisplay of the Sculpture Gallery this lecture considers the challenges of re-presenting a collecting career in a historic interior and the questions raised by the research programme.


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