Sir Hamo Thornycroft

The Kiss


Not on display

Sir Hamo Thornycroft 1850–1925
Object: 1778 × 597 × 864 mm, 700 kg
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1916

Display caption

Thornycroft was the leading figure in the New Sculpture, a movement which sought to inject a new naturalism into the classical tradition. He carved much of this work himself, relying less than usual on assistants. He worked from a full-size model which he first made in clay and then cast in plaster. The statue was a great success when exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1916. The subject of mother and daughter was acceptable while opening up the new possibilities of touch and physical engagement in sculpture.

Gallery label, September 2016

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Catalogue entry

N03153 THE KISS 1916

Inscr. ‘H. Thornycroft Sc. 1916’ on base.
Marble, 70×23 1/2×34 (178×60×86) including base.
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1916.
Exh: R.A., 1916 (1939).
Repr: Kineton Parkes, Sculpture of To-Day, 1921, 1, facing pp.68 and 69 (side and back views).

A ‘full size original model of the group’ was lent by Lady Thornycroft to the Royal Academy Memorial Exhibition of 1927 (122). This was in plaster and is now destroyed. An entry in Thornycroft's diary dated ‘Sunday night, April 2 1916’ reads: ‘This evening at my studio I finished carving my group of Mother and Child (“The Kiss” I think I shall call it). For months I've been carving at the marble, the loveliest one my chisel ever cut, & am quite sorry the statue will be out of my reach tomorrow. It goes to the R.A. I am generally glad to get rid of a work, but not this!’

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


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