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William Morris's poem 'The Story of Sigurd the Volsung' (1877) was based on the Icelandic Sagas. It was well known but rarely the subject of works of art. It is quoted, around the base of this bronze, in Lombardic lettering. The shallow reliefs on the marble show on one side Brynhilde and on the other the death of Sigmund. Older sculptors, notably Alfred Gilbert, had made much in the 1890s of figures in medieval armour. Bayes here extended this interest to a dramatic pose and to decoration, adding coloured enamels to the bronze.

February 2010