Rupert Forbes Gunnis (11 March 1899 – 31 July 1965) was an English collector and historian of British sculpture. He is best known for his Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851 , which "revolutionized the study of British sculpture, providing the foundation for all later studies on the subject".
Born in Cadogan Square, London, Gunnis was educated at Eton College. In 1923 he entered the Colonial Service, serving as private secretary to the Governor of Uganda (1923–6) and then the Governor of Cyprus (1926–32). From 1932 to 1935 he worked as Inspector of Antiquities for the Cyprus Museum,in 1936 he was appointed as a member of the Antiquities Advisory board, and published his important book Historic Cyprus. He undertook small excavations on behalf of the Cyprus Museum although none of them were published, he excavated at Enkomi in 1927, at Stylli near Famagusta in 1928 and at the cemetery at the site of Kaparka in Marion.
Returning to England in 1939, Gunnis inherited a large fortune with which he settled at Hungershall Lodge with his Turkish Cypriot life partner Namuk Kemal in Tunbridge Wells and pursued his antiquarian interests. Around 1942 he began compiling an index of monumental sculptors: this may have originally been intended for inclusion in Katharine Esdaile's projected Dictionary of British Sculptors, and after her death in 1950 he published his Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851 (completed in 1951 and published in 1953;2nd ed. 1968). An expanded third edition was published in 2009 by Ingrid Roscoe and a team of scholars at the Henry Moore Institute.
Rupert Gunnis died, aged 66, at Stratfield Saye, the Duke of Wellington's estate halfway between Reading and Basingstoke. He is buried in the Streatfeild Mausoleum in Chiddingstone churchyard, Kent (Streatfeild was his mother's maiden name). He left estate valued at £132,279.
The author Evelyn Berckman dedicated her 1967 novel The Heir of Starvelings to Rupert Gunnis. The novel is an apparently true story, based an anecdotal tales told by Gunnis to the author. His contributions to the art world are cited in the foreword and he also plays a named part in the epilogue section, which is set in 1922.
Thomas Banks was an important 18th-century English sculptor.
Joseph Nollekens R.A. was a sculptor from London generally considered to be the finest British sculptor of the late 18th century.
Frederick Scott Archer was an English photographer and sculptor who is best known for having invented the photographic collodion process which preceded the modern gelatin emulsion. He was born in either Bishop's Stortford or Hertford, within the county of Hertfordshire, England and is remembered mainly for this single achievement which greatly increased the accessibility of photography for the general public.
Patrick MacDowell was a Belfast-born British sculptor operating through the 19th century.
Joseph Bonomi the Younger was an English sculptor, artist, Egyptologist and museum curator.
Dame Ingrid Mary Roscoe, DCVO, CStJ, FSA was a writer on English art and Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire from 2004 to 2018.
The Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851 is a biographical dictionary of sculptors active in Britain in the period between the Restoration of Charles II and the Great Exhibition of 1851. It has appeared in three editions, published in 1953, 1968, and 2009 respectively: the 2009 edition adopts the amended title, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660–1851. The first two editions were researched and written by Rupert Forbes Gunnis, and were often known simply as Gunnis. The third edition was edited by Ingrid Roscoe. The book is a major scholarly work, which rapidly established itself as a standard authority on British sculptors and sculpture.
Richard Westmacott RA – also sometimes described as Richard Westmacott III – was a prominent English sculptor of the early and mid-19th century.
John Nost was a Flemish sculptor who worked in England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
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John Bell (1811–1895) was a British sculptor, born in Bell's Row, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. His family home was Hopton Hall, Suffolk. His works were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and he was responsible for the marble group representing "America" on the Albert Memorial in London.
John Bushnell (1636–1701) was an English sculptor, known for several outstanding funeral monuments in English churches and Westminster Abbey.
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William Stanton (1639–1705) was an English mason and sculptor. He is known particularly for monumental masonry.
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