Birmingham Encouraging and Advancing the Fine Arts by Francis John Williamson (1833-1920). c.1885. Stone. Pediment over the double-storey portico of the entrance bay, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham. The figure representing Birmingham holds a laurel wreath in one hand, as if to crown the efforts of her protégés — a young man with a completed (probably religious) statuette, and a young woman observing her subject closely as she sketches. The three figures are well linked: Birmingham extends a hand to the female artist, whose head is turned to the other side, where the young man is gazing across at her.

In the corners of the pediment, two pairs of plump, curly-haired cherubs are busy (or busy watching) different kinds of modeling. Left: The one next to the female artist has a palette and his companion has what looks like a modeling tool. Right: One is using a mallet, while another watches, leaning on a highly decorated vase. As Andy Foster says, this is a "clear and strongly modeled group well fitted to its high position" (63-64).

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Photographs, captions and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images for larger pictures.]


Foster, Andy. Birmingham. Pevsner Architectural Guides. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2005. Print.

>Last modified 28 August 2012