Edward Onslow Ford

The Singer

exhibited 1889

Not on display

Artist
Edward Onslow Ford 1852–1901
Medium
Bronze, coloured resin paste and semi-precious stones
Dimensions
Object: 902 × 216 × 432 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894
Reference
N01753

Display caption

The Singer describes a European fantasy of ancient Egypt. The trance-like pose expresses a myth of ancient societies more in touch with beauty and mysticism. Ford’s choice of an adolescent model also reflects intense contemporary debate about female sexuality. In 1885 the age of consent in Britain was raised from twelve to sixteen. This is Ford’s first Neo-Egyptian statuette. He incorporates imitation jewels and enamels, blurring the boundary between sculpture and the applied arts.

Gallery label, October 2020

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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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