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SCULPTURE


Moment of Peril, " a fine, scholarly work representing a mounted Red Indian repelling the attack of a great serpent which has thrown his horse to earth. How greatly he improved in technical' quality and in refinement of taste is to be seen in the life-sized marble statue called “ The Genius of Poetry "-graceful where the “ Moment of Peril ” was violent in action, reposeful and harmonious where that was vigorous, and sculpturesque where that was anecdotal. A higher intellectual point was reached in “ Song " and in the “ Eve, " now in the Tate Gallery in London. A similar advance is to be observed in Brock's portraiture. The statues of “ Robert Raikes " (on the Thames Embankment) and “Sir Richard Temple” (in Bombay Town Hall), for. example, are finely treated, unconventional figures; but “ The Rt. Rev. Henry Philpott, D.D., Bishop of Worcester, ” in which the inherent difficulty of a seated figure is happily surmounted, marks the progress. The skill with which the artist has given the drapery, especially of the sleeves, a lightness not commonly seen, is striking. There are no black holes of shadow: the depressions are shallow and of the right shape to hold light even while securing shadow; yet weakness. is avoided and crispness is secured by the sharpening of the edge of the folds—the principle which is established in the Pheidian group of " The Fates, ” for example, among the Elgin Marbles. Other works of importance in the same class are the effigy of “ Dr Benson, archbishop of Canterbury, " and the admirable statue of “Sir Richard Owen " in the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, and especially the “ Thomas Gainsborough " in the Tate Gallery, are all of a high order whether as to character or handling. With these may be grouped the statue of “ Sir Henry Irving, ” the tribute of British actors to the memory of the great dramatic artist (1910), and the seated marble statue of Lord Russell (1904). The bust of Queen Victoria is one of the noblest and most dignified works of its class executed in England; full of tenderness and of character, lovingly rendered;'and with a delicate feeling for form, rightly realized. This head heralded the noble work by which the memory of Lord Leighton is to be kept green in the aisle of St Paul's cathedral. In proportion and in harmony of design and of line, alike in conception and in reticence, it is the sculptural expression of a well-ordered mind and taste. The effigy shows Leighton asleep, while figures personifying his arts, painting and sculpture, guard his sarcophagus at head and foot. There is a note of triumph in the great design for the-“ Queen Victoria Memorial, ” which provides London with it s most .elaborate sculptural effort, rising 10 ft. high on a plateau 200 ft. across, with numerous emblematically figures of great size and imposing arrangement. It is based on an elevated style, dignified, refined and monumental; for Brock is a sculptor in the full sense of the term, and his lines are always good.

D.W. Stevenson, R.S.A. (1842-1904), in his general work showed but little sympathy with modern developments. The “ Bronze Lectern ” (in St Cuthbert's Church, Edinburgh) is perhaps the most decoratively effective; but his most ambitious work, called “The Pompeian Mother, " is a modern adaptation of the “ Niobe and her Daughter" by a follower of the school of Scopas in the Uffizi Gallery.

Although Horace Montford, modelling master at the Royal Academy, passed much time in the studio of Matthew Noble (1818-1876), he did not thereby lose his sculptural taste. Not that he displayed it much in the share he had, as assistant to C. B. Birch, A.R.A., in the modelling of the notorious “ City Griffin " at Temple Bar-a weird but spirited beast, the design for which had been supplied by the city architect, Sir Horace ]ones. “ A Hymn to Demeter, " a life-size statue full of movement, and the statue of “ Psyche and the Casket of Venus, " may be named as typical of the style of Montford, whose work is usually broad and sculpturesque, distinguished by firmness and grace.

Sir Charles B. Lawes-Wittewronge (b. 1843) has produced three large works which have attracted attention: an elaborate and spirited equestrian group of a female Mazeppa-“ They Bound me on " (1888); “ The United States of America ” (1890), decorative and not without elegance, and “ The Death of Dirce." The last named, of heroic size, in variously coloured bronze, was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1908, and again, in coloured marbles (yet not truly polychromatic in character) in colossal size, at the Franco-British Exhibition (1908). The complexity of the design, the skilful composition and arrangement of the elaborate group, the vigour of the modelling, and the impressiveness with which the work imposes itself upon the spectator, combine to render this perhaps the most important sculptured group of its kind exhibited in England. Sir Charles's work is always strong and robust, though occasionally somewhat lacking in repose. »

W. Hamo Thomycroft (b. 1850; A.R.A., 1881; R.A., 1888) became a great influence for good in the British school. His tendency towards the Greek has been a wholesome reminder of the danger of the over-enthusiasm for naturalism, and yet 'was never forced to conventionalism. Alike in ideal work, in monumental sculpture and in portraiture, his art is marked by refined taste and scholarship and a noble sense of beauty. It is strong, yet without undue display of power. In him we have 'to appreciate an unaffected sympathy with grandeur and style, and in all, a big, broad rendering of the human form, with something of the movement of the Greek sculptors and not a little of their repose, yet individual and unmistakably l

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belonging to the British order of mind. In his largest monumental group, however, the “ National Memorial to W. E. Gladstone, " erected in the Strand, London, there is little trace of the classic. In this work, asin the bronze statue of Bishop Creighton in St Paul's Cathedral, there is a modern feeling entirely responsive to the feeling of the people. Mr Thornycroft's seated marble statue of Lord Tennyson (1909) in Trinity College, Cambridge, is one of his finest portrait figures, full of dignity and excellent in likeness-a worthy memorial of the poet.

J. Havard Thomas began in 1872 to exhibit portrait sculpture, and soon turned his attention to ideal work, but he did not attract widespread attention until 1886, when he produced “The Slave Girl.” This marble nude was a curious contrast to most Slave Girls by other sculptors-that by Hiram Powers, for example. Somewhat stunted in form, she is nevertheless full of very human grace and well-felt realism, and is a good example of the artist's carving. Mr Thomas, indeed, is one of the few to carve his own marbles, often without taking the intermediate step of making a clay model. This of course cannot be the case with his large sculpture, such as his great statue of “ The Rt. Hon. W. E. Forster ” at Bradford, and his “ Samuel Morley, M.P., " and “ Edmund Burke, M.P., " both at Bristol; but the beautiful small heads of peasants and children such as the Donatellesque “ Pepinella "-of Capri, where he lived for years from 1889 onwards, are mostly carved' direct from life. The beauty of his chisel work can be seen to perfection in the exquisite bust of Mrs Wertheimer in the Tate Gallery; the marble seems to turn to flesh under his chisel and to palpitate with life: it is, perhaps, too much like flesh. This is very far from the “ Classic, ” with over-attention to which, Mr Thomas has curiously and quite inaccurately been reproached. It is true that his much discussed statue “ Lycidas " appears to be a distant echo of Myron; it is in truth archaistic, but with an aim altogether different from that of the Greek. It is Classic in a sense, full of life and wonderfully modelled, but the attainment of perfection of human beauty was not the intention of the sculptor, and yet it appears to the unobserving as but. a rifacimento. There is a vivid' sense of style in Mr Thomas's work, and sometimes a search for beauty in subjects which to the common eye may suggest the ugly. But Mr Thomas must be recognized as an artist of great power and originality and to the last degree conscientious. Sculptural subtleties he loves, and he works in a low key, quiet and unobtrusive, and severe though he is, he is a poet- in sentiment with extreme refinement of taste. His reliefs are fine in rhythm, and by their accentuated definition, allied with delicacy, extremely telling.

From the year 1873 Edwin. Roscoe Mullins (d.1905) produced numerous busts and statues, and his work was in the main ideal and decorative. His best figure is probably that of “Cain-My Punishment is Greater than I can Bear, ” executed in 1896; his latest work, “ The Sisters" (1905), shows considerable grace. Mullins work in architectural embellishment was good in style, appropriate and effective.

Joseph Swynnerton (d. 1910) was a sculptor who spent a good deal of his time in Rome and worked under her influence. His colossal fountain of flowers, zephyrs and splashing nymphs is, on the contrary, rather rococo in style, with charming passages. On the other hand, “ Love's Chalice " is Classic in feeling. Generally speaking, Swynnerton's work has an appearance of strength, without commonness or lack of effect.

E. Onslow Ford (1852-1901; A.R.A., 1888; R.A., 1895) was lost to British art before he had passed middle age. His seated statue of “ Henry Irving as Hamlet " is a well-conceived piece of realism, with expression subtly marked, and verging upon the theatrical-which is precisely what an actor's character-portrait should be. Compared with this work, the later seated statue, that of “ Huxley, ” keen and refined, is more strictly sculpturesque-for in it there is no “ subject, " and there are no ornaments to divert the attention and suggest a false appearance of decoration. The statue of “ Gordon " mounted on a camel-reminding us too vividly of the “ Arab Chief" by Barye-is more open to criticism on the score of the elaborateness of the ornamental details, which almost reach the boundary of what is allowable in sculpture. It is erected at Chatham, and a replica has been set up (1902) in Khartum. A finer memorial is that to the honour of “ Shelley." It is, however, better in its parts than in its entirety, because the decorative scheme injures, rather than helps, the sculptural dignity of the drowned poet's exquisitely-rendered figure. Of Onslow Ford's other memorials, that of Queen Victoria at Manchester is perhaps the most discussed and the least to be admired, for although the conception is dignified and characteristic, it does not rank by any means with the best of which the artist was capable. As a truthful portraitist Onslow Ford had few rivals. The sitter is before the spectator, without undue flattery, yet without ever showing the commoner side of the model. Flesh, bone, hair, clothin, are all in their true relation, and the whole is admirably realizei Idealism, or at least poetic realism, Onslow Ford cultivated in a series of small works. Of his last figure, “ Glory to the Dead, " it may be said that, although statuesque, it carries realism rather far in treatment. It may be objected that in funerary art, so to call it, the nude was never resorted to by the Greeks in such a relation; but Onslow Ford felt that he was working, not for ancient

Greeks, but for modern Englishmen, and that sentiment, and not