Sculptures to Explore from the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man has been home and inspiration to sculptors since Viking times. In this story we focus on the Victorian and the modern.

By Manx National Heritage

Still Life (20th century) by Paul FordManx National Heritage

Sculpting An Island Legacy

In 2020 the Black Lives Matter movement focused attention on one of our 19th century sculptures. As you'll find out it shone the spotlight on a remarkable black Victorian. It's this and other recently digitised works we'd like you now to discover.

Mona (19th century) by Joseph William SwynnertonManx National Heritage

Mona

A half life-size statue of a female figure entitled 'Mona', representing a physical embodiment of the Isle of Man. The statue was produced by Joseph W. Swynnerton of Douglas (1848-1910) in 1875 when Swynnerton was studying in Rome.

James Brown, reformer, journalist and founder of the Isle of Man Times (1815-1881) (19th century) by Joseph William SwynnertonManx National Heritage

James Brown

A marble bust of James Brown, reformer, journalist and founder of the Isle of Man Times, by Joseph William Swynnerton of Douglas (1848-1910). 

James Brown (1815-1881) was the son of a freed slave. In 1846 he came to the Isle of Man from Liverpool. He founded the Isle of Man Times in 1861 and waged a campaign against the Island's Government to introduce reforms such as a popularly elected House of Keys. 

Daniel Cottier (19th century) by Olin Levi WarnerManx National Heritage

Daniel Cottier

A bronze sculpture of the head of Daniel Cottier, stained glass artist (1838-1891) sculpted by Olin Levi Warner in 1878. 

Daniel Cottier is considered to be an important influence on Louis Comfort Tiffany and also is credited with introducing the Aesthetic movement to America and Australia. Cottier's family was from Lezayre, Isle of Man.

Thomas Edward (T.E.) Brown, Manx Poet (20th century) by Joseph William SwynnertonManx National Heritage

Thomas Edward Brown

A marble bust of Thomas Edward Brown (1830-97), the Manx national poet, by Joseph William Swynnerton of Douglas (1848-1910). 

T.E. Brown (as he's best known as) was born in Braddan, Isle of Man. He was renowned in England for his work as an educationalist. On the Isle of Man his fame is as the Island's most eminent poet whose work captured the lives and ways of the Manx people in their own dialect.

Bronze head and shoulders of a child (19th century) by Frank Mowbray TaubmanManx National Heritage

Head and shoulders of a child

Executed in 1893, this bronze head of a child wearing a hood or cowl is the work of artist Frank Mowbray Taubman (1868-1946). Of Manx parentage, Taubman spent much of his working life in London. An intriguing aspect of this piece is the inclusion of a Masonic square and compass.

Bronze head 'Phoebe' (20th century) by Frank Mowbray TaubmanManx National Heritage

Phoebe

Bronze sculpture of the head of a young female in Art Deco style. The sculpture is by Frank Mowbray Taubman (1868-1946) and is entitled 'Phoebe'. The artist was the son of Robert Taubman who was born c.1841 in Ballaugh, Isle of Man.

Figure (20th century) by Maurice DayManx National Heritage

Figure

This white alabaster sculpture depicts a female figure. The sculpture, mounted on a wood base, is painted black with a gold coloured square adhered to the surface. It was sculpted by Maurice Day (1929-2007) in 1948 and is one of Day's first pieces of carving.

Three Tree Heads (20th century) by David GilbertManx National Heritage

Three Tree Heads

Three tree heads by David Gilbert (1928-2016). In 1971 the Gilbert family moved to the Isle of Man and lived on a small holding near Bishopscourt on the west coast of the Island.

Second World War Memorial (20th century) by Michael Sandle RAManx National Heritage

Second World War Memorial

A hypothetical monument by Michael Sandle RA (1936- ) first shown at Fischer Fine Art. It features the most famous aeroplane of Bomber Command, a Lancaster. The monument was sculpted in 1981.

Tortoise Sculpture by Bryan Kneale RA (20th century) by Bryan Kneale RAManx National Heritage

Tortoise

Tortoise sculpture by Bryan Kneale RA (1930- ), one of the most accomplished of the modern generation of Manx artists.

This piece was inspired by Kneale’s work on the bone collection at the Natural History Museum, London.

Still Life (20th century) by Paul FordManx National Heritage

Still Life

A sculpture by living artist Paul Ford depicting an upright human wrapped in a Manx flag and stood in a metal cage.

The sculpture is ambiguous. Does it represent a Manx cultural identity that is dead or fossilised? Or does it represent an identity that is standing proud and protected, impervious to change?

Installation of 'The Watcher' sculpture outside the Manx MuseumManx National Heritage

Discover more sculpture on imuseum.im

You can read more about these sculptures and explore the collection more widely by visiting www.imuseum.im

(Photo: Installation of Yn Arreyder ('The Watcher') by Bryan Kneale, outside the Manx Museum, September 1977.)

Credits: Story

Manx National Heritage

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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