The collection encompasses marble portrait busts and figures, sculpture in wood, terracotta, bronze, lead and plaster, as well as a number of outstanding sculptors' models. Its greatest strengths lie in works from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and virtually every major sculptor active in Britain during this period is represented - among them Nicholas Stone, John Michael Rysbrack, Louis Francois Roubiliac, Joseph Wilton, John Flaxman and Alfred Stevens. A total of 770 pieces by 189 sculptors are included, more than a third of which have never been published before. The catalogue, wide-ranging and scholarly, will serve both as an invaluable work of reference, and a history of the great tradition of sculpture in Britain over 400 years.
Diane Bilbey works in the Sculpture Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She joined the Museum in 1991 after studying history at Kingston Polytechnic. She has also published on aspects of the Museum's cast collection.