For the Nobility, Gentry & Curious in General
Richard Dubourg’s Classical Exhibition, 1775-1819
Museum Victoria has a cork model of the Colosseum made by English artist Richard Dubourg circa 1800.
This extraordinary model was part of Dubourg’s collection of cork models of sites from classical antiquity, exhibited in London in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The exhibition brought the Grand Tour to London, aiming to educate and entertain a diverse audience – antiquarians, architects, nobility and gentry planning or recalling tours to the actual sites, families, tourists and students.
Dubourg also adopted theatrical effects such as scenic set pieces and special lighting to create drama and movement in his models of the Temple of the Sibyls and Cascade at Tivoli and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Richard Gillespie will present a history of Dubourg’s exhibition and its significance both as a London entertainment and in relation to other 18th century cork models and surviving collections.
Sarah Babister will outline the materials and techniques used in the construction of the Colosseum model and the treatment required to conserve it for future exhibition.