Sir Hamo Thornycroft

Sketch for ‘Artemis’


Not on display

Sir Hamo Thornycroft 1850–1925
Plaster and wax
Object: 184 × 70 × 181 mm
Presented by Lady Thornycroft 1926

Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘H. Thornycroft 1880’ on underside of base.
Plaster and wax, 7 1/4×2 3/4×7 1/8 (18·5×7×18).
Presented by Lady Thornycroft 1926.
Lit: Edmund Gosse, ‘The New Sculpture’ in Art Journal, 1894, pp.141 and 200; M. H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-Day, 1901, p.39.

A clay model was completed by 5 June 1879 (Thornycroft's diary), but N04215 is presumably a later version. A large plaster ‘Artemis’ was shown at the Royal Academy in 1880 (1566), and a marble version in 1882 (1644). The marble was commissioned by the Duke of Westminster in May 1880 through Alfred Waterhouse, the architect. It is still in the Marble Hall at Eaton Hall and is inscribed ‘Hamo Thornycroft A.R.A. Sc. 1882’.

The exhibited works differ considerably from N04215: the figure of Artemis stands upright and she carries a bow in her left hand, while with her right arm she bends back over her shoulder to pluck an arrow from a quiver. Instead of two dogs there is only one, straining forward on a leash and dragging Artemis’ left hand and arm across behind her body. Two reproductions in the Art Journal, 1894, p.141, show the large plaster both before and after drapery had been added to the body, and even in the Tate Gallery sketch the plaster figure has been modelled first, with drapery broadly indicated with wax pressed on afterwards. The model for the action and limbs of Artemis was Antonia Paria.

According to the Connoisseur, XLIV, 1916, p.59, a ‘smaller version of “Artemis”’ was shown in the Georgian Hall at Messrs Waring and Gillow's Galleries, 180 Oxford Street, London, lent by the artist. The large plaster model (R.A., 1880, No.1566) was lent by Lady Thornycroft to the Royal Academy Memorial Exhibition, 1927 (125), and is now at the Town Hall, Macclesfield, after its presentation to the town by Lady Thornycroft in 1926. An unfinished marble group, similar to the 1880 Royal Academy work, belongs to Lady Thorncroft and measures 33 3/4×9 3/4×18 3/4 in.; this was probably included in the R.A. Exhibition of Decorative Art, winter 1923 (128). In May 1911 Thornycroft was carving a statuette of the same subject for the Duke of Westminster. This is now in store at Eaton Hall and measures 32 1/2×20×10 in.

Two pen drawings, on a page in the diary dated ‘Feb. 1901’, show the same composition as N04215, one being inscribed ‘The Death of Actaeon’. This is probably the reworking of an old idea, and was not carried any further.

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

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