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Slave Girl

December 18, 2014

In the middle of the 2014 season we loaned out a bronze sculpture by John Bell which we know as the Slave Girl. She was loaned to the Yale Center for British Art in Connecticut for an exhibition titled Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837–1901.

Martina Droth, Curator of Sculpture for the YCBA said “One of the reasons we were so eager to borrow this work is because we wanted to juxtapose it with a related statue, the Greek Slave by Hiram Powers – this is an extremely famous American work which was shown at the Great Exhibition 1851. John Bell’s statue appears to have been made as a direct response to the Greek Slave, commenting directly on the American slave trade, a subject that Hiram Powers evokes but does not explicitly address.”

While Hiram Powers’ statue is very familiar in America, John Bell’s Slave Girl (or American Slave as is apparently her official title) is virtually unknown and forces the exhibition’s audience to reconsider the Greek Slave.

The sculpture has now completed her time at YCBA but will travel with the exhibition to the Tate Britain in London, before finally returning to Cragside mid-2015.

Slave Girl at YCBA

Slave Girl at YCBA


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