Ignace Jan Paderewski

Ignace Jan Paderewski

Sir Alfred Gilbert, R. A. (1854-1934)

Modelled 1891; cast 1934

Bronze

23 3/4 inches

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Richard Dorment's book on the sculptor, which contains a monochrome illustraton of the Tate Gallery cast from another angle (plate 79), points out that this is one of those portraits "that raise the question of what was, in his eyes, a completed work." According to a member of the Gilbert family, he created it in two hours while Paderewski played "the piano in his upper studio," and the sculptor "never gave any serious thought to this unfinishd work," which remained in plaster for 33 years — until it was cast in bronze and purchased for the Chantrey Bequest. Dorment adds that Gilbert did permit a smaller version (now in Birmingham) to be cast for the painist's patron, Lady Lewis (pp. 128-130). Did Gilbert consider this a completed work or not?

Photograph and text by George P. Landow 2008