William Robert Colton

The Girdle

1898

Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 1289 x 940 x 737 mm, 275 kg
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1899
Reference
N01766

Display caption

Colton trained under William Silver Frith, the pupil and successor of Dalou at Lambeth School of Art. He was heavily indebted to the French style of sculpture, and female nudes, lovers and children dominated his output.
'The Girdle' was bought for the nation when it was first shown at the Royal Academy in 1898, and it became Colton's most well known work. The subject of a woman tying a ribbon around her torso is a tenous one, and is instead an opportunity for Colton to celebrate the sensuous grace of the nude.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N01766 THE GIRDLE 1898
 
Inscr. ‘W. R. Colton 1898’ on top of base, at back on right side.
Bronze, 50 3/4×37×29 (129×94×74).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1899.
Exh: R.A., 1899 (2056).
Lit: M. H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day, 1901, p.144, plaster model repr. p.145; W. T. Whitley, ‘W. Robert Colton, A.R.A.’ in Art Journal, 1911, p.177, repr. p.182; Herbert Maryon, Modern Sculpture, 1933, p.95.
Repr: Royal Academy Pictures, 1898, p.114 (the plaster model).

On the evidence of a photograph published in Royal Academy Pictures, 1898, this work appears to have been first exhibited at the R.A., 1898 (1963), as a plaster model, although the medium is not described either in the catalogue or in the illustrated supplement. A bronze statuette was in the R.A., 1903 (1808).

The sculptor's daughter, Mrs Kerr, wrote (9 December 1956) that this was a composite work, several models having been used. She owned a marble version, slightly smaller than life-size (43 in. high), which was at the Beaux Arts Gallery in 1929.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I