Sir Alfred Gilbert

Mrs Macloghlin


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Sir Alfred Gilbert 1854–1934
Bronze on marble base
Object: 438 × 216 × 190 mm
Presented by Mrs Macloghlin 1915

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Eliza Macloghlin (1863-1928) met Gilbert in 1905 when she commissioned a memorial for her husband, the surgeon Edward Macloghlin. She worked closely with Gilbert on the project, and became infatuated with him. Their relationship was passionate and intense, which shows in Gilbert's bust of her, with its ecstatic pose and writhing putti. The back of the bust is inscribed in Latin 'Alas! The fleeting years glide by!' Their friendship was broken off in 1907 after Eliza quarrelled with Gilbert about the length of time he was taking over her husband's monument, and she broke all the windows of his studio. She gave this bust to the gallery in 1915.

Gallery label, April 2009

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Catalogue entry

N03039 MRS MACLOGHLIN 1906 or 1907
Inscr. ‘Eliza Macloghlin, 190[?6] Alfred Gilbert Sculp. Eheu Fugaces!’ on back.
Bronze, 17 1/4×8 1/2×7 1/2 (44×21.5×19), on brown marble base, 1×7 1/2×6 (2.5×19×15).
Presented by Mrs Macloghlin 1915.
Lit: W. J. (Lord Webb-Johnson), ‘Mors Janua Vitae’ in Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, III, 1948, pp.221–2; Bury, 1952, pp.54–5.
Repr: R. H. Hubbard, National Gallery of Canada, Catalogue of Painting and Sculpture, II, Toronto, 1959, p.195 (another cast).

This portrait was cast from a model for the larger bronze memorial group with portraits of Mr and Mrs Edward Percy Plantagenet Macloghlin of Wigan, Lancashire, inscribed ‘Mors Janua Vitae’, completed in 1909 and now in the Hall of the Royal College of Surgeons. The sketch for the larger work was exhibited at the R.A., 1907 (1732). According to a letter from the sitter's sitter, Miss Beatrice Millard (28 March 1957), the bust was modelled in Bruges about 1907. Mrs Macloghlin was Miss Eliza Millard, born in 1862, daughter of Mr and Mrs J. Millard of Wigan. After the death of Dr Macloghlin in 1904 Mrs Macloghlin made an offer to the Royal College of Surgeons to provide funds for a scholarship. She died in 1928 and the money was left to the College in her will.

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

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