The Tableaux

Earlier this week David Livingstone Birthplace posted about the beautiful tableaux, now renovated being fitted into the newly renovated museum. Pictured are the contractors carefully fitting the eight sculptures back into place. You may remember seeing them previously in the dark room?

I realised i’ve not written much about this subject, so here’s some info from my notes.

Mr C Pilkington Jackson started work on his beautiful, eight large tableaux in 1927, 2 years ahead of the museum opening. He had a budget of £150 per scene (a lofty £9,200 in todays money for each one!)

There were many fundraising events during 1927 and 1928 in order to raise the money and credit should really go to Mr. F.C Mears for that, for without his efforts Pilkington Jackson would not have been able to fund his commission.

These sculptures promised to be one of the star attractions of David Livingstone Centre, even in 1929, lit from the background beautifully and seen by over 51,000 people during the first year alone. When the museum was being created and internally fitted out in 1928, the entire ground floor was stripped out and the recessed beds of the former weavers and miners houses were used to form recesses in which to carefully place the tableaux.

You may be interested to know, these are duplicated. In 1930, the Director of the Gold Coast, so taken by the beauty of these sculptures, had 7 of the 8 of them reproduced again in large scale and took them on a tour of schools under his charge to educate children on each scene, using them to tell Livingstone’s story, his life and influence.

Some funds were raised by organisations. The one titled “endurance” showing Livingstone’s last days, being fitted in the upper part of this photo above ….had funds raised by King Khama’s Tribe of South Africa. Credit should also go to Mr Campbell Mackie for originally painting the plaster and of course to all the conservation experts who have done the.

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