Unveiling our new George Eliot acquisition

Earlier this year we asked you whether you thought we should bid at auction for an object relating to George Eliot (‘To collect or not to collect’). We were really grateful for the feedback we received and are pleased to report that we were successful at auction. The new display will be unveiled on Friday 16th December to coincide with the 136th anniversary of the author’s death next week.

The object we acquired is a beautifully crafted and intimate sculpture of what is believed to be George Eliot’s left hand. We purchased it using visitor donations. The intricate, white marble sculpture depicts Eliot’s left hand resting on a cushion, which is entwined with a flowering plant. It has been incised ‘George Eliot’.

It is thought to have been made shortly after Eliot’s death on 22nd December 1880 as part of the Victorian tradition of remembering the dead through artworks, sculpture and jewellery known as memento mori.

We were struck by the detail of the sculpture when you look at it close up and feel it is a very moving and personal object. We would like to say thank you for the generosity of our visitors whose donations made this acquisition possible and hope that you enjoy the new display. We think it provides an exciting new opportunity to explore the personality and life of an inspiring Nuneaton born woman.

The sculpture will be on display for members of the public to enjoy from Saturday 17th December in the George Eliot Gallery.

Find out more!

If you would like to find out more about the Victorians and their relationship with death you might be interested in January’s lunchtime talk ‘Death and the Victorians’. The talk will take place on Friday 20th January, 12:30pm. Places are free but booking is essential. Please call the Museum on 024 7637 6158 for more information.

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