This sculpture first came on the market in the mid 1980s and the Art Fund offered a grant towards a quarter of its cost, but the appeal was unsuccessful.

In 1994, the work was acquired by the Getty Museum and second public campaign was launched when it was export stopped. The Art Fund doubled its grant and this time the work was successfully acquired jointly by the V&A and the National Galleries of Scotland. The Three Graces were the daughters of Zeus and companions to the Muses in bestowing their gifts upon humanity. Canova depicts them from left to right as Euphrosyne (mirth), Aglaio (elegance) and Thalia (youth and beauty and has sculpted the three as exquisitely articulated young women in a touching and intricate embrace.

Provenance

Commissioned by the Duke of Bedford; Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, 1819-1985.


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Exhibitions at V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)

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