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John Tweed archive: highlights

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John Tweed with a small version of his statue of Captain Cook, 1909-1912

John Tweed (1869 - 1933) was an eminent sculptor at the turn of the twentieth century. He had a long and successful career producing a variety of sculptural objects including portraits, public statues, war memorials, architectural decoration and his own personal ideal pieces. He was a close friend of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin and worked to promote Rodin's art in Britain. Many of the Rodin sculptures in British institutions, such as the collection at the V&A, are only there today because of Tweed's hard work and connections.

During his lifetime Tweed had a reputation for being the sculptor to the British Empire. He had a long and fruitful relationship with South Africa which developed following his early work for Cecil Rhodes. His portraits and public statues are still visible in many nations of the former British Empire as well as in many British cities and towns.

After his death his remaining sculpture and his extensive archive of letters, photographs and drawings were kept by his children. In the late 1960s they donated the entire collection to Reading Museum. This important resource was fully documented through a four-year research project that ended in 2013. Some of the highlights of the collection can be viewed here.

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