Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Boschetti
(fl. c. 1820-79)
Based in Rome, at 74 via Condotti, he produced bronze statuettes, plaques, bas-reliefs and medallions, usually of Classical subjects, and executed marble friezes for the villas Albani and Adriana in Rome. He became particularly noted for the quality of his bronze casts of antique Roman sculptures and won a medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851, where he exhibited a pair of mosaic tables in the Byzantine style, representing the Triumph of Love and the Blessed Soul.

His only recorded public work in Britain appears to have been La Innocenza ('The Innocent Girl'), which was purchased by James Walker McGrigor, who presented it to Glasgow in March 1879, on condition that it was erected in one of the city's parks.

A Classical group of a draped girl holding a dove, with a dog at her feet, it commemorated McGrigor's deceased niece, Rita, who had drowned on 10 August 1876. The group was erected close to the Stewart Memorial Fountain and the Kennedy Monument in Kelvingrove Park, without official comment or ceremony.

Part of he statue can be seen from the rear in a photograph of the Kelvingrove International Exhibition, taken by George Washington Wilson in 1888 (GWW F5998, reproduced in Lyall, p. 94).

Unfortunately, the group was demolished by vandals during the early hours of 23 July 1953, when it was toppled from its pedestal and dragged away, with one arm being broken off. The dog was also lost at this time but enough of the statue remained for it to be re-erected in the Rockery to the south of the fountain, where it was placed behind a fence for protection.

This proved ineffectual as a deterrent, however, and a further attack by vandals necessitated its removal once again - to a fertilizer shed!

Despite a proposal to relocate it to the safer Botanic Gardens, the statue is now lost, the only surviving part being the girl's arm which was found on one of the banks of the River Kelvin in 1995 (see: Daily Record, Arm a bit puzzled, 23 August, 1995, p. 15).

Sources:

  • MacKay ;
  • GCA : C13.9 (1879) Parks, 10 March: p. 2159, 24 March: p. 2158;
  • Groome (1895): p. 130;
  • GH (1953): Statue of Girl, Kelvingrove Park, 29 July: 3;
  • DR (1995): Arm a bit puzzled, 25 August, p. 15 (ill.);
  • Nisbet, in McKenzie (2002) , Lost Works, pp. 440-1;
  • Lyall, p. 94 (ill.);

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