Lucchesi in his studio
The sculptor A. C. Lucchesi was born in London, the son of a Tuscan sculptor's moulder and an English mother. He became assistant to his father, then studied at the West London School of Art, the Royal Academy, and worked as an assistant to several important sculptors, including H. H. Armstead and E. O. Ford. He also worked at one time and another as a model painter, carriage decorator, sculptor's model and furniture painter, as well as modelling for silversmiths such as Elkington and Garrards.
As a sculptor, his first original conception was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1881, and the following year his Waif won him entrance to the Royal Academy Schools, where he was a successful student over five years.
Lucchesi favoured nude female figures and ideal busts. Although his titles are often classical, his figures are not in the classical idiom, but fall clearly within the naturalistic New Sculpture movement. Among his ideal nudes are The Flight of Fancy (click on picture above), Destiny, Oblivion, The Vanishing Dream, and A Woman of Carthage and he said that he considered
'... the female figure [to be] nature's masterpiece, and the fact that I have so often used it, to endeavour to convey or symbolise a poetic thought, shows how strongly I feel this.'
Lucchesi's best known work is The Myrtle's Altar (1899), a languidly reclining nude of which a miniature version is in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Examples of his portrait work include his Bishop Bardsley monument (1906) in Carlisle Cathedral, the Queen Victoria on the exterior of the art gallery in Bath, and a medallion portrait of John Ruskin at Keswick.
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