An Unknown Young Woman

An Unknown Young Woman

William Theed, Junior

1839

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Theed's study of An Unknown Young Woman was executed in Rome, where the sculptor spent over twenty years before being recognised by the royal family. Martin Greenwood describes Theed as becoming "a versatile and eclectic sculptor who was equally at ease with classicizing ideal works, historical realism, and modern life portraits." The Unknown Young Woman at the Fitzwilliam Museum is a delightful example of a modern life portrait bust, with the tilt of the head nicely emphasised by the off-shoulder design of the garment on the other side — though one can understand why Bob Speel says that Theed's ideal girls are sometimes "rather on the coy side."

Photograph and text by Jacqueline Banerjee

Courtesy of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge