Pioneering sculptor’s work on display to mark Black History Month


A rare sculpture by pioneering 19th-century American artist Edmonia Lewis will be on display to the public in Scotland on Black History Month.

Lewis was the first woman of African and Native American descent to gain international recognition as an artist.

One of his marble sculptures, completed in 1870, titled Bust of Christ, is on display in the Mount Stuart mansion on the Isle of Bute

It has been in the private collection of the aristocratic Bute family for many years, but has only recently been rediscovered by historians and scholars.

Lewis achieved international recognition as a neoclassical sculptor between the 1860s and 1890s, working in Rome, Paris and London after leaving the United States.

Bust of Christ sculpture by artist Edmonia Lewis (Mount Stuart / PA)

Mount Stuart Collections Curator Jessica Insley said: “Edmonia Lewis led an extraordinary life that challenged restrictive 19th century norms of gender, class, race and artistic practice.

“It is a privilege to be able to share one of Lewis’ rare religious subjects with the public, and especially in a space like the British Country House, where the contributions of women artists and underserved groups have traditionally been overlooked. .

“It is especially important to display the Bust of Christ now as there is a constant increase in the attention paid to the works of Edmonia by scholars. “

The sculpture, which will be on display from Monday, is one of only two works by Lewis that are in public collections in the UK.

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