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Group - Kneeling figure on the back of a mermaid
  • Kneeling figure on the back of a mermaid
    Gilbert, Alfred Sir, born 1854 - died 1934
  • Enlarge image

Kneeling figure on the back of a mermaid

  • Object:

    Group

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1892 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gilbert, Alfred Sir, born 1854 - died 1934 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaster, wax, plasticine

  • Credit Line:

    Presented by Art Fund and Mr. Sigismund Goetze

  • Museum number:

    A.91-1936

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This model made by Sir Alfred Gilbert in ca. 1892, depicts a naked figure of a man kneeling on the back of a mermaid whose tail curves over his head. It's circular plaster base is decorated with waves rising over the heads of four sea nymphs. It has been suggested that the group is to be connected with two figures forming part of the decoration of the St Michael on the tomb of the Duke of Clarence. What appears to be the present piece is shown on a photograph taken in 1935 of the interior of Alfred Gilbert's studio in Kensington Palace.

Sir Alfred Gilbert (1854-1934) was a famous British sculptor of the late 19th century. He was also medallist, goldsmith and draughtsman. He was known for his inventiveness and characteristically used many different materials in the same work. He epitomised the movement known as the “New Sculpture”, with a new focus on naturalistic forms. His many commissions included for example the celebrated figure of Eros, part of the Shaftsbury memorial.

Physical description

Model, wax, plaster and sheet lead. A naked figure of a man kneeling on the back of a mermaid whose tail curves over his head. On a circular plaster base decorated with waves which rise over the heads of four sea nymphs.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1892 (made)

Artist/maker

Gilbert, Alfred Sir, born 1854 - died 1934 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Plaster, wax, plasticine

Dimensions

Height: 23.5 cm

Object history note

In the studio of the artist at the time of his death. Given by Mr Sigismund Goetze and the National Art-Collections Fund with A.88-90 and 92-99-1936.

Descriptive line

Group, model, plasticine and wax, of a figure kneeling on the back of a mermaid, by Sir Alfred Gilbert, English, ca. 1892

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bilbey, Diane with Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V& A Publications, 2002, p. 280, cat. no. 428
Cox, Machell E., Commemorative Catalogue of an exhibition of models and designs by the late Sir Alfred Gilbert R.A., exh. cat., Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Oxford, 1936, p. 25, no. 39
Bury, Adrian, The Shadow of Eros, London, 1954, p. 70

Materials

Plaster; Wax; Plasticine

Subjects depicted

Nymphs; Naked man; Mermaid

Categories

Sculpture; Myths & Legends

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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