• Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Perseus Arming - Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
Click image to enlarge

Perseus Arming

Sir Alfred Gilbert

(British, 1854-1934)

Signed A. Gilbert
Stamped 92 on bottom of base
Bronze with dark and light brown patina
Height: 14 1/2" (37 cm)

Conceived in 1881 and cast within the artist's lifetime


Commissioned in bronze by Sir Henry Doulton and first shown at the Grosvenor Galleries in 1882, Perseus Arming is one of Sir Alfred Gilbert’s most popular works. It was modelled in 1881 whilst Gilbert was living in Rome, and later received an honourable mention at the Paris Salon of 1883.

In 1879 the young sculptor had visited Florence where he saw the work of the great Renaissance sculptors Benvenuto Cellini and Donatello. The effect of these encounters had a marked impact on Gilbert. As a result, the sculptor began to explore classical subjects, as well as the contrapposto twist associated with the Italian Renaissance.

However, even at the young age of 25, Gilbert was keen to adapt rather than merely replicate the sculptures of the past. He remarked at the time that whilst he was amazed by Cellini’s masterpiece Perseus with the Head of Medusa, the work left him ‘somewhat cold’ as it failed to touch his ‘human sympathies.’

Benvenuto Cellini, Perseus with the Head of Medusa, bronze, 1545-1554, Piazza della Signoria (Florence)

‘At the time my whole thoughts were of my artistic equipment for the future,’ he wrote in 1903, ‘I conceived the idea that Perseus before becoming a hero was a mere mortal,’ owing much of his strength to his equipment.

Gilbert places himself into the sculpture and uses the subject as a vehicle for a self-portrait. The work thus becomes an analogy for Gilbert's own burgeoning artistic career. We see Perseus looking over his shoulder to his winged sandals checking to make sure his tools were fit for purpose. Just as Perseus was a mere mortal before slaying the Gorgon, Medusa, Gilbert alludes to his belief that one day he too will master his tools and achieve greatness.

Featured Sculpture / New Acquisitions 19th & 20th Century

Browse By Artist

Robert Adams, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Adams, Robert

(British, 1917-1984)

Michael Ayrton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ayrton, Michael

(British, 1921-1975)

Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Bayes, Gilbert

(British, 1872-1953)

Pietro Calvi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Calvi, Pietro

(Italian, 1833-1884)

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carpeaux, Jean-Baptiste

(French, 1827-1875)

A. E. Carrier-Belleuse, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carrier-Belleuse, A. E.

(French, 1824-1887)

Demetre Chiparus, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Chiparus, Demetre

(Romanian, 1886-1947)

Geoffrey Clarke, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Clarke, Geoffrey

(British, 1924-2014)

Jean-Baptiste Clesinger, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Clesinger, Jean-Baptiste

(French, 1814-1883)

Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Cordier, Charles Henri

(French, 1827-1905)

Aimé-Jules Dalou, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Dalou, Aimé-Jules

(French, 1838-1902)

Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Derwent Wood, Francis

(British, 1871-1926)

Jules Desbois, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Desbois, Jules

(French, 1851-1935)

Alfred Drury, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Drury, Alfred

(English, 1856-1944)

Sir Jacob Epstein, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Epstein, Sir Jacob

(British, 1880-1959)

Pierre Félix Fix-Masseau, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Fix-Masseau, Pierre Félix

(French, 1869-1937)

Pablo Gargallo, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gargallo, Pablo

(Spanish, 1881 - 1934)

 George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren

(British )

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gérôme, Jean-Léon

(French, 1824-1904)

Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gilbert, Sir Alfred

(British, 1854-1934)

Emmanuel  Hannaux, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Hannaux, Emmanuel

(French, 1855-1934)

Adrian Jones, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Jones, Adrian

(English, 1846-1938)

Fritz Klimsch, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Klimsch, Fritz

(German, 1870-1960)

Gerald Laing, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Laing, Gerald

(UK, 1936-2011)

Frederic Lord  Leighton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Leighton, Frederic Lord

(English, 1830-1896)

Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Lucchesi, Andrea

(Italian, 1860-1924)

Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mackennal, Sir Edgar Bertram

(Australian, 1863-1931)

Antonin Mercié, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mercié, Antonin

(French, 1845-1916)

Ivan Mestrovic, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mestrovic, Ivan

(Croatian, 1883-1962)

George Minne, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Minne, George

(Belgian, 1866-1941)

Henry Moore, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Moore, Henry

(English, 1898-1986)

Edward Onslow-Ford, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Onslow-Ford, Edward

(English, 1852-1901)

Eduardo Paolozzi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Paolozzi, Eduardo

(British, 1924-2005)

Paul  Philippe, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Philippe, Paul

(French , 1870-1930 )

Pablo Picasso, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Picasso, Pablo

(Spanish, 1881-1973)

Hiram Powers, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Powers, Hiram

(American, 1805-1873)

Jean-Jacques Pradier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Pradier, Jean-Jacques

(Swiss, 1790-1852)

Sir William Reid Dick, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Reid Dick, Sir William

(English, 1879-1961)

Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Rodin, Auguste

(French, 1840-1917)

 Rodin and Carrier-Belleuse, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Rodin and Carrier-Belleuse

(French, 1840-1917 and 1824-1887)

Alfred Stevens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Stevens, Alfred

(English, 1818-1875)

Raymond Sudre, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Sudre, Raymond

(French, 1870-1962)

Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Thornycroft, Sir William Hamo

(English, 1850-1925)

Albert Toft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Toft, Albert

(English, 1862-1949)

Arthur George Walker, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Walker, Arthur George

(British, 1861 - 1936)

Ossip Zadkine, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Zadkine, Ossip

(Russian/French, 1890-1967)