Sculpture by George Frederick Watts RA (1817-1904)

G. F. Watts produced a few sculptures, helped somewhat with the technical aspects of casting by the sculptor J. E. Boehm. Perhaps one reason for the small number of works is that Watts had an allergy to plaster. It is unfortunate, because those statues that Watts did carry out are of great force. His most impressive is Physical Energy, a huge equestrian work, and one which, in typical reclusive shyness, he was most reluctant to have cast at all. The painter Millais encouraged him to do so in 1886, and some 14 years later the government offered to pay for it to be done, but it was not until 1902 that he was finally persuaded. Three castings were made - one is in Kensington Gardens, London, one forms the Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town, South Africa, and the third was apparently put up in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in 1960. Another large equestrian statue is Hugh Lupus (1876/83) at Eaton Hall.

Clytie is typical Watts - the classical nymph who turned into a flower is modelled as a head and shoulders, her neck exposed as her face turns to follow the sun. One casting is in the Tate Gallery. Watts's other statues are of people - Tennyson (1903) in Lincoln in the Cathedral precinct, the Monument to Thomas Cholmondeley in Condover, St Mary and St Andrew (an early sculpture from 1867), the Monument to Bishop Lonsdale (1871) in Lichfield Cathedral, where the subject wears drapery with complex folds in the ambitious manner of Greek sculpture of the best period, and Lord Lothian in Blicking Church, Norfolk. In London, as well as Physical Energy, Watts has Lord Holland in Holland Park.

Physical Energy.

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