Henry Alfred Pegram
Ignis Fatuus 1889

Artwork details

Henry Alfred Pegram 1862–1937
Ignis Fatuus
Date 1889
Medium Bronze
Dimensions Displayed: 720 x 720 x 140 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1889
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1840

Display caption

The title in Latin literally means 'crazy fire' but has come to refer to any venture that is deluded and foolhardy. The relief shows a woman sitting on a throne, her head supported by her arm in an attitude that mixes boredom, despair and resignation. Like his broken bow, she has been forsaken by the man in warrior's garb who reaches up towards a group of extraordinary creatures. They represent his fantasies, imaginations and desires and suggest their ultimate folly. Flames and smoke billow across the background. The sculpture was a development of an earlier roundel by Alfred Gilbert, whom Pegram greatly revered.

February 2010