George Frederic Watts

Daphne

c.1879–82

Medium
Marble
Dimensions
Object: 711 x 610 x 381 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the executors of Francis Howard 1955
Reference
T00012

Display caption

The subject of this sculpture comes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Daphne, the daughter of a river-god, was pursued by the sun-god Apollo and only saved from his touch by being turned into a laurel tree.

In this marble bust laurel leaves surround her body, suggesting the transition from flesh to branches. The unfinished appearance of the work, with the marks of the claw-chisel still visible, reinforces the idea of transformation.

Gallery label, September 2004

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