New Sculpture

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Sir Alfred Gilbert (1854—1934) sculptor and goldsmith

Sir George Frampton (1860—1928) sculptor and craftsman

Gilbert Bayes (1872—1953) sculptor

Frederic Leighton (1830—1896) painter

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A trend in British sculpture between about 1880 and 1910 characterized chiefly by an emphasis on naturalistic surface detail and a taste for the spiritual or Symbolist in subject matter, in reaction against the blandness of much Victorian sculpture. The name was coined by the critic Edmund Gosse in a series of four articles, ‘The New Sculpture, 1879–1894’, published in the Art Journal in 1894. Leading representatives of the trend include Gilbert Bayes (1872–1953), Alfred Drury (1856–1944), Edward Onslow Ford (1852–1901), Sir George Frampton, Sir Alfred Gilbert, Lord Leighton (traditionally regarded as its founder), the Australian-born Sir Bertram Mackennal (1863–1931), Sir William Reynolds-Stephens (1862–1943), Sir Hamo Thornycroft, Albert Toft (1862–1949), and Derwent Wood (1871–1926). Their archetypal product was the ‘ideal’ free-standing figure, often with imagery drawn from mythology or poetry. Most typically these ideal figures were in bronze, but polychromy—using such materials as ivory and coloured stones—was also a feature of the New Sculpture. Although the New Sculpture did not survive the First World War as a major force, some of the practitioners went on working in the idiom long after this.

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