Sculpture in the Interior of the Town and Country House in England, 1790-1835

  • Lisa Urbanic

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


The objective of this study is to examine the deployment and display of sculpture between 1790 and 1835 in English country and town houses. Antonio Canova's (1757-1822) neoclassical sculpture and copies of his works are used as an entry point for this thesis allowing for further investigation on the placement of sculpture in the house interior, such as the movement of sculpture from the periphery of a room into the centre of the space. Themes explored in this research include a brief history of the placement of sculpture in English interiors, which incorporates location, display and lighting, in addition to copies of Canova's works found in English country and town houses. Discussion on the display of sculpture in specific spaces such as entrance halls, dining rooms and sculpture galleries is also included. Copies of Canova's works placed in houses in England will be examined too, as their use was extensive and has not been previously researched at length. A select series of case studies are presented in order to analyse in-depth the display of sculpture in English interiors. These studies include: Thomas Hope's Duchess Street in London, Syon Park, Newby Hall, Woburn Abbey, Chatsworth, Deepdene and Clandon Park. These case studies are divided into three chapters: modes of display within domestic spaces implemented by both architects and collectors; the placement of sculpture in sculpture galleries; the uses of copies, particularly relating to works by Canova. The conclusion reflects on my findings and further considers the effects of the removal of sculpture from purposely-designed spaces (eg. Canova's Three Graces from Woburn Abbey) as well as its destruction (eg. following the recent fire at Clandon Park).
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHelen Rees Leahy (Supervisor)


  • sculpture, Antonio Canova, display, copies
  • Syon Park, Woburn Abbey, Chatsworth, Deepdene, Clandon Park, Duchess Street

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