Europeans have shaped what we think of as being quintessentially English

Immigrants from Europe have, for centuries, played a vital role in shaping British culture as well as our perception of what we think as quintessentially ‘English’ or ‘Scottish’.

Tombs of our Tudor Kings and Queens and most country house garden sculptures admired by visitors throughout Britain were created by Europeans. Much of the sculpture in Westminster Abbey, for example, is the creation of immigrants.

A major conference organised by The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA)  will examine Émigré Sculptors in Britain 1540-2016. The event takes place at the City and Guilds of London Art School on 26 and 27 May 2016.

Professor Phillip Lindley, Professor of Art History will be presenting on 'The Foreignness of British Sculpture 1500-1775'. He said: “Many of the tomb-monuments of the aristocracy, the first equestrian monuments in Britain, and most country house garden sculptures were produced by immigrant sculptors, so even some of the things that we today think of as quintessentially ‘English’ or ‘Scottish’ were actually produced by immigrant sculptors from Italy, France or the Low Countries. 

“For centuries, Britain and the continental mainland have been connected by culture and, in part, the visual images we possess of British Culture were actually produced by European émigrés, working here."