Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gibson and the YCBA

I'm off to New Haven to begin my Visiting Scholar Award at the Yale Center for British Art, about which I posted back in April. This is not to be confused with the "Artist's Studio in Britain" seminar I attended there back in June (which I posted about here, here, here, and here). You'd think with all my traveling I would have packing down to a science, but it's not easy coordinating a wardrobe when the weather is moving from temperately chilly to cold but could warm up at any time. In any case, the fellowship is in support of my dissertation on John Gibson. The bust of an unknown young woman that you see here is by Gibson and from the YCBA collection. They date the marble bust to the late 1820s, which seems reasonable based on her hair style, but her identity is a mystery. One of my many goals for this trip is to identify her. I would like to think that it is a bust of Emily d'Aguilar Robinson from Liverpool. She was one of Gibson's earliest supporters. She was married, but she and Gibson may have had a bit of a love affair. She died in 1829 while he was in Rome, and he designed her funerary monument which is now in the Oratory at St. James's Cemetery in Liverpool. Of course, it's very possible the bust is of someone else, so that and many other Gibson mysteries await me as I spend some time doing research.

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