Frederick William Pomeroy

Dionysus

?1890–1

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
Frederick William Pomeroy 1856–1924
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 825 x 318 x 381 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Henry J. Pfungst 1898
Reference
N01762

Display caption

F.W.Pomeroy RA was a prominent figure in the major revival of sculpture that took place in England from the 1870s onwards. The New Sculpture, as it was called, was particularly notable for a renewed interest in the techniques of bronze casting, coinciding with a rise in popular taste for Italian Renaissance bronzes. Pomeroy is reported to have 'made his mark' with this sculpture when he showed it as a plaster cast at the Royal Academy in 1890. Dionysus was the ancient Greek god of wine, and Pomeroy shows him as a vibrant youth, toasting us with his upheld rhyton, or drinking horn. Dionysus was associated with nature and the animals, and here he stands on a Renaissance style base with animal feet.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N01762 DIONYSOS (?) 1890–91

Inscr. ‘ΔIÓNYΣOΣ’ on front of base and ‘F. W. Pomeroy, sc/91’ at back of base on r.
Bronze, 32 1/2×12 1/2×15 (82×31×38).
Presented by Henry J. Pfungst 1898.
Lit: Edmund Gosse, ‘The New Sculpture, 1879–1894’ in Art Journal, 1894, p.308, (?) the plaster repr. p.310; M.H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-Day, 1901, p.116.
Repr: (?) the plaster: Studio, XV, 1899, p.84; R.B.S., Modern British Sculpture, n.d. (1939), p.79.

In 1890 Pomeroy exhibited at the R.A. a ‘Dionysos-statuette’ (2080) which may well have been the plaster from which this bronze was subsequently cast. According to Gosse, loc. cit., the original plaster lacked the foliage which serves as a fig-leaf in the bronze, but the reproductions listed above, in which this feature is present, seem to be of a plaster. Another cast, signed and dated 1909, is in the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II