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Henry Moore Institute

Thomas Woolner: Seeing Sculpture Through Photography (No.49)

Thomas Woolner: Seeing Sculpture Through Photography (No.49)

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Thomas Woolner (1825-92) came of artistic age with the invention of photography. His interest can partly be linked to the naturalism conveyed by the medium, which reflects the Pre-Raphaelite artistic commitment to truth to nature. But his use of photography must also be seen in the context of the new visibility for images of sculpture in the visual culture of the period.

Joanne Lukitsh (Massachusetts College of Art and Henry Moore Institute Fellow 2003-04) gives an historical frame to these developments for sculpture by relating Woolner's commissioning of photographic reproductions to important contemporary developments in the representation of sculpture.

Taking the photographic reproductions of Woolner's work held in the Henry Moore Institute's Archive of Sculptors' Papers as a starting point, this essay focuses on Woolner's growing awareness of the commercial potential of photography, his relationship with the London photographer William Jeffrey, and his recognition that photography presented a new means of engaging with different audiences.

This essay was written to accompany the exhibition Thomas Woolner: Seeing Sculpture Through Photography (5 November 2005 - 5 February 2006, Gallery 4).

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