Between 1831 and 1855, the Danish scholar Just Mathias Thiele (1795-1874) compiled the first biography of the famous Danish neoclassical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), a four-volume illustrated work called Den danske Billedhugger Bertel Thorvaldsen og hans Værker (The Danish Sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and His Works). Despite the fact that Thorvaldsen’s works were popular among British commissioners, the task of introducing the story of his life and works to British audiences was a rather complex one. UCL Special Collections hold the unpublished manuscript of Sarah Rowan’s translation of the first volume of Thiele’s biography. Together with this unpublished manuscript, UCL Collections also own the original preparatory drawings for both volumes of the biography made by a number of renowned artists such as Constantin Hansen (1804-1880) and Christen Købke (1810-1848). The first page of the manuscript is featured here alongside two of the drawings: a drawing of a bust of Bertel Thorvaldsen and a drawing of Thorvaldsen’s Numa Pompilius and Egeria (1794) signed by Købke.
For more information on Thorvaldsen and his works can be found on the website of Thorvaldsens museum.
Location: UCL Special Collections, MS ADD 77.
Images of the drawings © University College London