‘Exceptional’ marble sculpture returns to Scottish National Gallery

National Galleries of Scotland employee Adeline Amar with Lorenzo Bartolini's life-sized marble portrait group The Campbell Sisters Dancing a Waltz. Picture: PA

National Galleries of Scotland employee Adeline Amar with Lorenzo Bartolini's life-sized marble portrait group The Campbell Sisters Dancing a Waltz. Picture: PA

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An “exceptionally beautiful” nineteenth-century sculpture has gone back on display at the Scottish National Gallery for the first time since its acquisition last summer.

Lorenzo Bartolini’s marble portrait group The Campbell Sisters, carved in Florence around 1821-22, was recently saved for the nation when it was bought by the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The life-size group portrays Emma and Julia, the two youngest daughters of Lady Charlotte Campbell, dancing a waltz. According to notes made in Bartolini’s studio, the group was commissioned by the sitters’ elder brother, Walter (1798-1855). On completion it was shipped to Scotland and installed at Inveraray Castle on the west coast, seat of Lady Charlotte’s brother, the 6th Duke of Argyll.

It was on loan at the Scottish National Gallery (SNG) in Edinburgh from 1991 to 2014, when the NGS successfully raised the necessary funds to ensure it remained in Scotland. Michael Clarke, SNG director said: “This beautiful sculpture by Bartolini holds centre stage in our rooms and looks absolutely stunning in this setting.”

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