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


Bronze rich dark brown and red/brown patination on an ebonised wood plinth

19 1/4 inches (49 cm.)

Commissioned by Frederic Lord Leighton in 1882 after the exhibition of Perseus Arming at the Grosvenor Gallery. The subject is both a homage to Leighton's important painting Daedalus and Icarus and a reflection of Gilbert's view of himself:

"'It flashed upon me that I was very ambitous: why not 'Icarus" with his desire for flight.' The significance of the Icarus myth's rdevance to Gilbert in the early 1880s, has been examined by Richard Dorment and other Gilbert scholars, not only the genius of the soaring ambitious youth but also the ignominious crash, mirroring Gilbert's own crash both emotional and financial in later years. There is however no doubt that Gilbert in his choice of subject shows the intensity of his approach to his sculpture and how it mirrored his emotions and self perception." [continued below]

  • The same cast, turned slightly
  • Another view
  • Photograph and text by Robert Bowman 2008