Frederick William Pomeroy

The Nymph of Loch Awe


Image released under

License this image

Not on display

Frederick William Pomeroy 1856–1924
Marble on onyx base
Object: 267 × 641 × 229 mm weight 55.6kg
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1897

Display caption

This subject was based on an old legend explaining the origin of Loch Awe in the Scottish Highlands. A nymph was asked to watch a magic well to check that the water did not rise above a certain height. She fell asleep, the water rose and she drowned. Dead or dying female figures lying prostrate on the ground were a popular subject in French art at this time. But they were usually more sensuous than Frederick Pomeroy’s figure. In contrast, he arranges the woman’s limbs to emphasise the weight and vulnerability of her body.

Gallery label, February 2010

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘F.W. Pomeroy Sc-1897’ at back on l.
Marble, including plinth of Mexican onyx, 10 1/2×25 1/4×9 (26×64×23).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1897.
Exh: R.A., 1897 (1980); R.A., Late Members, winter 1933 (803).
Lit: M.H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-Day, 1901, pp.116–17, repr.; Kineton Parkes, Sculpture of To-Day, 1921, I, pp.100–1.
Repr: Royal Academy Pictures, 1897, p.85; Art Journal, 1897, p. 184.

An old legend explains the origin of Loch Awe as follows: a nymph was set to watch a magic well and to see that the water did not rise above a certain height; she fell asleep, the water rose, and she was drowned.

Spielmann, loc. cit., points out that the piece is ‘very similar in sentiment and arrangement to M. Dennis Puech's high relief of “Nymphe de la Seine”, exhibited in the Salon in 1895’.

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

You might like

In the shop