Waxing and waning: the Casella sisters and the revival of Renaissance-style wax portraits
This talk will explore the work of English artists and sisters Ella and Nelia Casella, whose work within the Arts & Crafts movement included illustration, watercolour, glass, enamel and leather. However, it was as modellers of wax reliefs, and Renaissance-style wax portraits specifically, that they secured their claim to a well-established tradition which served to legitimise their position in the art community and, arguably, their social circle – validating their reputation as professional practitioners and fashioning them as ‘Renaissance women’ in their own right.
Dr Amy Mechowski worked as an Assistant Curator at the V&A from 2007 to 2013, in three different collections departments (Asia; Word & Image; and Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass), returning to the Museum in 2016 as Head of the Learning Academy where she led a team delivering the adult learning program, including history of art and design courses. She is Programme Leader for ‘Curating, Museums, and Galleries’ at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and leads the 19th century module of the ‘Stories of Art’ course at The National Gallery. Her most recent publication is on the female gaze and the female nude in 19th-century sculpture (Sculpture, Sexuality and History, Palgrave, 2019).