British (English) School
Stone, Thalia, or the 'Comick Muse', British (English) School, c.1760-63. A statue depicting Thalia, the Comic Muse, with her proper left foot upon on a Greek theatrical mask and a second mask at her proper right foot. She plays a lyre. Thalia is one of four statues installed on the parapet of the South Front of Kedleston Hall (completed 1763), with Euterpe (NT 108048), Prudence (NT 108049) and Diana (NT 108050).
The statue is recorded by Nathaniel Curzon (1726-1804) as 'Comick Muse with an harp' in his handwritten 'List of Statues I have' of c.1760 (MS, Kedleston Archive). It is listed in the published 'Catalogue of the pictures, statues, &c. at Kedleston' of 1769 (p.4). The National Trust has previously attributed the South Front portico statues to William Stephenson, a sculptor from Liverpool identified by Rupert Gunnis as carrying out work on the Liverpool Town Hall in 1752 and possibly the Palladian bridge at Stowe (Gunnis 1968, p.373). There is no evidence to prove this attribution. The statues may have been produced by local stone carvers to designs by Robert Adam (see, for example, NT 109129). Alice Rylance-Watson February 2019
Purchased by Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Scarsdale (1726-1804) c. 1760-63; identifiable in the 'Catalogue of the pictures, statues, &c. at Kedleston', 1769 (p. 4); purchased with part of the contents of Kedleston Hall with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund in 1986 when the house and park were given to the National Trust by Francis Curzon, 3rd Viscount Scarsdale (1924-2000).
Kedleston Hall, The Scarsdale Collection (acquired with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1987)
Makers and roles
British (English) School, stone carver previously catalogued as attributed to William Stephenson (fl.1752-1756), sculptor
Curzon 1769: Nathaniel Curzon, Catalogue of the pictures, statues, &c. at Kedleston, with some account of the architecture, 1769, p. 4 National Trust (Great Britain), Kedleston Hall., 1993, p. 11 Gunnis 1968: Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, London 1968, p. 373