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Head - Medusa


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1865 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Transferred from the Tate Gallery

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a model for the mask of Medusa forming part of the decoration of a frieze designed by Stevens for Weston Birt House, the country residence of the original donor of this piece, Sir George Holford.

A sculptor, designer and painter, Alfred Stevens (1817/18-1875) rejected contemporary distinctions between fine art and design. From 1850 to 1857 he was chief designer to Hoole & Co., Sheffield, where he produced award-winning designs for metalwork, majolica, terracotta ornaments and chimney-pieces. Perhaps his two greatest works were the decorations for the dining-room at Dorchester House, London (about 1856), for which he made countless drawings inspired by the Italian High Renaissance style, in particular the work of Michelangelo and the monument to the Duke of Wellington for St Paul's Cathedral, London, which was completed after his death. The two allegorical groups from this monument made a lasting impact on the New Sculpture movement.
The influence of the Italian Renaissance is evident in much of Steven's work, and is perhaps best reflected in the Wellington monument.

Physical description

Medusa head.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1865 (made)


Alfred Stevens, born 1817 - died 1875 (designer)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 37 cm

Object history note

Given to the Tate Gallery by Sir George Holford in 1922. Transferred from the Tate to the V&A in 1975.

Plaster cast from a classical Medusa Head in Munich, used in the decoration of a frieze at Weston Birt House, the country house of Sir George Holford.

Descriptive line

Model, plaster, for a mask of a Medusa head for a frieze for Weston Birt House, by Alfred Stevens, England, 1865

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, 2002, cat. no. 661
Towndrow, K. R., The works of Alfred Stevens in the Tate Gallery, London, 1950, p. 123, no. 393




Sculpture; Architectural fittings


Sculpture Collection

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