Allegories of the Arts, Sciences and Industry
These long detailed reliefs illustrate the purpose of the art gallery building. On the right hand side of the museum entrance nine male figures dressed in classical robes represent Sculpture; one carves a sphinx, another holds a carved bust, a third a statuette. On the left side of the entrance eight classically draped female figures represent the Arts; one models a Classical vase, another holds a palette, two work on a canvas mounted on an easel, and another pair hold scrolls. On the side of the museum two longer reliefs represent Industries and the Sciences. The Industries are represented by seventeen male figures dressed in contemporaryl work clothing. They include glassmaking, a book binder, two blacksmiths with customers dressed in contemporary clothing, a stonemason, workers in wrought iron, locksmiths, a potter who models an elaborate vase and then at the far right hand side the designer. The Sciences are represented by male figures in classical garments. They include two figures representing Architecture who stand in front of a Classical building; a group representing Geometry, one of whom inscribes a geometrical figure on the wall; Medicine holding a caduceus; Chemistry, who stands in front of some scientific apparatus; Geography, represented by several figures, one holding a map and standing by a theodolite, the other two discussing the globe in front of them; Engineering who holds a governor and stands in front of a large cogwheel; and Navigation who holds a sextant.
In 1881 a fund was created for the building of an art gallery for Wolverhampton. On 7 November 1884 the Mayor of Wolverhampton received an anonymous donation of £5000. At the opening of the gallery the donor was revealed as Philip Horsman, Wolverhampton based industrialist, who paid the total cost of the building totalling £8500.
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