Academic journal article The Sculpture Journal

John Physick, CBE, FSA (1923-2013)

Academic journal article The Sculpture Journal

John Physick, CBE, FSA (1923-2013)

Article excerpt

John Physick, CBE, FSA (1923-2013)

For many of us, John Physick was a godfather of sculpture studies, bridging the generation gap between pioneers such as Margaret Whinney and Rupert Gunnis, and ourselves. He was in fact to revise Whinney's magisterial Pelican History of Art volume on British Sculpture 1550-1830, published in 1988, and the nine volumes of annotations by Gunnis of his Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851. This was added to by John, and deposited at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, where it played a crucial role in the transformation of Gunnis into A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660-1851 by Ingrid Roscoe, Emma Hardy and Greg Sullivan, published by Yale University Press in 2009. John worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1948 to 1984, as Keeper of Museum Services, 1977-82, and as Deputy Director, 1982-84. From 1957, as a curator at the museum, John published on English sculpture of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, his coverage of the nineteenth century being particularly valuable at a time when this field was regarded as beyond critical attention; his 1970 volume on The Wellington Monument remains key to this day. His final intervention was probably the entry in Roscoe et al. …

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