Charity Being Kind To The Poor

Charity being kind to the poor sculpture, Victor Tilgner, public art 

Public Art : Charity Being Kind To The Poor (originally untitled)

Sculptor: © Victor Tilgner (25th of October, 1844 - 16th of April, 1896)

Designer: © Edward W Raht

Description: A bronze sculpture of "Charity" sheltering a mother and her two children from the elements.

Date Unveiled: c1893

Cast:  Imperial Art Foundry of Vienna

Location: In the gardens of the Melbourne University,  Melbourne, Australia.


Sculpted by Victor Tilgner (1844-1896). An Austrian artist commissioned by the Equitable Life Assurance Society LTD for their building at the corner of Collins and Elizabeth streets. Constructed in 1891-06 the work was cast in the Imperial foundry of Vienna. The building , purchased in 1923 by the Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society LTD, was demolished in 1959 and this sculpture given to the University of Melbourne.

Background to the Charity Being Kind To The Poor sculpture :  The sculpture was designed by Austrian architect Edward W Raht and sculptor Victor Tilgner.  The bronze sculpture was cast at the Imperial Art Foundry of Vienna. Originally the sculpture was commissioned to adorned the Equitable Life Assurance Society Limited Headquarters on Collins and Elizabeth streets. It was mounted on red granite portico and was considered the "crowning piece' of the ornate structure. It symbolized the themes of shelter and protection so very typical of insurance companies of that time. In the 1950's the building was considered uneconomical and was demolished leaving this statue with no home. In 1959 the Colonial Life Assurance Society Limited gave the sculpture to the university of Melbourne. It was initially erected at the unis School of architecure property at Mount Martha but was moved in 1981 to its present location.


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