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The Singer describes a Western fantasy of the East; the trance-like pose expresses a myth of ancient societies more in touch with beauty and mysticism. The unusual bronze technique, incorporating imitation jewels and enamels, enhances the decorative effect. As the figure pulls back the strings of the instrument and sings she appeals to our sense of hearing as well as sight. Henry Tate bought this sculpture from Ford for 700 guineas, a large sum. It and Frederic Leighton’s Sluggard 1885 were the only sculptures included in his foundation gift in 1897.

February 2016