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Puck is a mischievous invisible fairy in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Thomas Woolner has illustrated a scene here from an ‘Imaginary Biography’ of Puck. He alights on a mushroom to save a sleeping frog from a hungry snake. The sculpture captures the instant before a sudden movement – as Puck touches the frog with his foot it will jump away just before the snake attacks.Ideal or poetic subjects drawn from literature, mythology or history, were highly regarded by sculptors in the mid-nineteenth century.

July 2007