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This bust of the famous Victorian painter and sculptor, was commissioned by his wife, and took more than Gilbert's usual number of sittings. Mrs Watts wrote that 'Sir Frederic Leighton gave it high praise ... I remember his passing his hands over the planes of the cheek-bone and then to the planes of the coat, saying 'It could not be better', and Signor [Watts] agreed with him, remarking how far finer a coat became in sculpture when treated in such a manner than any artificial drapery; and they congratulated each other on the disappearance of the bathing-towel from the shoulders of a modern bust.'
Gilbert refused any payment for the bust, and in return Watts painted his portrait.

February 2010