George Frederic Watts

Daphne

c.1879–82

Artist
George Frederic Watts 1817–1904
Medium
Marble
Dimensions
Object: 711 x 610 x 381 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the executors of Francis Howard 1955
Reference
T00012

Not on display

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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