Page 16 - The Studio First Edition - April 1893
P. 16

Artists as Craftsmen—No. I. Sir Frederic Leighton

                     punctually to the exact time." In response to  wished to purchase it. I was unwilling to sell it
                     some leading questions bearing on the subject of  him, and asked him to paint something in ex-
                     sculpture and modelling, Sir Frederic said : " My  change for the statuette which I had cast for him ;
                     first essay in modelling was for a monument  and in return he gave me one of his most delight-
                     to Mrs. Browning, at Florence. Two others,  ful works,  Shelling Peas,  which you have just
                     one to the memory of my sister's husband, Major  seen. There," said Sir Frederic, pointing to an
                     Sutherland Orr, and another to Lady Charlotte  empty pedestal in the alcove outside the window
                     Greville, are the only works I have attempted  which looks in the octagonal Arab Hall below,
                     besides those you see represented _
                     here" (indicating the casts that
                     stood on a chest in the large bay
                     window, or upon the long shelf of
                     the fireplace to its left).
                       " When I was at work upon
                     the  Daphnephoria  it occurred to
                     me to model some of the figures,"
                     Sir Frederic continued ; " that
                     group of three girls, if you remem-
                     ber, appears at the left of the
                     picture. This was the figure for
                     the Choragus ;  of course (turning
                     the nude figure we reproduce
                     here), you see it from this side
                     only in the painting. It was at
                     this time that the idea of my
                     Athlete struggling with a Python,
                     came into my mind, and so I
                     modelled this figure" (here Sir
                     Frederic crossed to the shelf and
                     picked up the first sketch in
                     clay, which is reproduced here
                     from the original cast). " It was
                     admired by several people, who
                     took it, by the way, for a genuine
                     antique. Some French sculptor
                     —Dalou, I think ; I am not quite
                     sure — was particularly pleased
                     with it, and advised me to carry
                     it out life size. Later on, as you
                     know, the bronze was exhibited at
                     the Royal Academy, and bought
                     by the nation. In Paris it was              "THE ATHLETE" (SKETCH IN CLAY)
                     accorded the gold medal, as the work of  un sculp-  " the first cast of my Needless Alarms  should be
                     teur."  Here Sir Frederic smiled at the idea of  standing, but the bronze has just gone to Chicago;
                     being reckoned an English sculptor.         besides the figure I am sending  Perseus and An-
                       " This is the Perseus, on the winged horse, for my   dromeda,  the  Alcestis,  the  Portrait of Sir Richard
                     Academy picture of 1891, and this the figure of   Burton, and  The Garden of the Hesperides.  Yes,
                     Andromeda, for the same picture ; you must stoop   certainly, these are all; it is usurping a large space
                     down to see it properly. That, as you see, is the  as it is, and as president of the committee it would
                     model for  The Sluggard.  Yes, all these were  have been indiscreet for me to have sent more."
                     modelled in clay ; I have tried wax, but on the whole   Then, as I was about to question Sir Frederic
                     I do not like it so well. If you will follow me I will   concerning the draperies he used on these figures,
                     show you the model of  Needless Alarms, which is  the wet muslin arranged in those delightful folds
                     in wax. I had it cast in bronze, but Sir John Millais  which recall the best periods of Greek sculpture,
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