John Gibson – A British Sculptor in Rome

I knew many British people did the Grand Tour to widen their education, but had no idea some artists lived and worked there. Gibson (1790-1866) was born in Conwy, Wales but settled in Rome in 1817 where he studied with Antonio Canova and set up his own studio which itself became a tourist attraction for visitors. By 1844 he was known as ‘Gibson of Rome’ and a favourite of Prince Albert.   

After the French Revolution, patronage for large marble and bronze sculptures declined, so artists turned to plaster models which allowed artists to be more independent and creative. Their studios became their workshops, so echoing practice of traditional tradespeople.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Gibson’s death, The Gibson Trail has ben established, showing sites of over 150 of his works in London, at the V&A, Tate Britain, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey etc. covering 6.8miles:


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