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This painting came about as the result of a commission from Wilkie for Lessore to make a version of 'Apollo and Daphne', the sculpture by the Renaissance master Bernini. Wilkie saw this work in the Borghese Gallery in Rome during an army posting there at the end of the Second World War. Lessore's sculpture stood in Wilkie's garden and followed the original in depicting the moment when Apollo embraces Daphne, who turns into a tree to escape him. The related painting came about because Lessore tried to persuade Wilkie to commission a painting rather than a sculpture. Wilkie would not change his mind but Lessore painted this version anyway, which he presented to him.

September 2004