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Onslow Ford was an innovator. Here he rejected classical subject matter and conventions of ideal beauty and presented the embodiment of Folly as a pubescent girl poised precariously on the edge of a dangerous rock. Ford’s casting allows enormous detail and a sensuous surface. It was made using the lost-wax process – casting bronze in a mould taken from a detailed wax model. The artist even pressed strands of animal hair into the wax to create the effect of a tangled mop. Such attention to surface detail led critics to complain that the work was too life-like to be acceptable as sculpture.

February 2010