Edward Onslow Ford

The Singer

exhibited 1889

In Tate Britain
Edward Onslow Ford 1852–1901
Bronze, coloured resin paste and semi-precious stones
Object: 902 x 216 x 432 mm
Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894

Display caption

The Singer describes a Western fantasy of the East; the trance-like pose expresses a myth of ancient societies more in touch with beauty and mysticism. The unusual bronze technique, incorporating imitation jewels and enamels, enhances the decorative effect. As the figure pulls back the strings of the instrument and sings she appeals to our sense of hearing as well as sight. Henry Tate bought this sculpture from Ford for 700 guineas, a large sum. It and Frederic Leighton’s Sluggard 1885 were the only sculptures included in his foundation gift in 1897.

Gallery label, February 2016

Catalogue entry

N01753 THE SINGER c. 1889
Not inscribed.
Bronze, including base, 35 1/2×8 1/2×17 (90×22×43); the circlet set with turquoises and garnets and pedestal in the form of a lotus.
Tate Gift 1894 (in addition to his original gift).
Coll: Probably acquired by Henry Tate in 1894 as it was not included in the catalogue of his collection published in that year.
Exh: R.A., 1889 (2195).
Lit: M. H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day, 1901, p.56, repr. p.58.
Repr: Art Journal, 1894, p.307.

The companion figure ‘Applause’ shows a crouching girl, also Egyptian, beating time with her hands, and was exhibited at the R.A. in 1893 (1828) with a quotation from the ancient Egyptian ‘Song of the Harpist of Thebes’.

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



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