• Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Orpheus and Eurydice - Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
Click image to enlarge

Orpheus and Eurydice

Charles Ricketts

(English, 1866-1931)

Signed CR
Inscribed No 5
Bronze with brown and dark green patination
Height: 13 1/2'' (34 cm)

Conceived and cast circa 1906


The majority of Ricketts’ sculptural models derive their subject matter from classical mythology, literature or biblical stories. In this particular model, the artist depicts the final moments of the tragic story of Orpheus and Eurydice, which was famously narrated by the Roman poet Ovid in the 1st Century AD.

According to the legend, the musician Orpheus and the nymph Eurydice were a blissful couple who were tragically separated after Eurydice was bitten by a deadly snake. Refusing to accept her death, Orpheus travelled to the Underworld to rescue his wife. A skilled lyre player, Orpheus managed to get past the three headed dog Cerberus and convinced Hades to let her go back to the land of the living with him. There was however one condition, Eurydice was ordered to walk behind Orpheus, who was not allowed to turn and look at his wife, until the couple had left the Underworld.

As they drew near the threshold of the upper world, however, ‘afraid she was no longer there, and eager to see her, Orpheus turned back to look at her. In an instant she dropped back, and he, unhappy man, stretching out his arms to hold her and be held, clutched at nothing but the receding air’ (Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book X).

In this sculpture, Ricketts captures the passionate moment as the couple embrace before Eurydice is forced to return to the world of the dead. The sculpture’s modelling is somewhat reminiscent of Rodin’s work at the turn of the century, especially in the definition of Orpheus’ features and the use of empty space within the composition. As Orpheus arches back to clutch and kiss the departing Eurydice, a gap is created between the two, defining the rhythm of the work and referencing the sense of loss central to Ovid’s narration. In doing so, the artist also forces the viewer to engage with the sculpture in the round, rather than with a frontal view.

The original, patinated plaster for the sculpture was exhibited at least once during Ricketts’ lifetime at the Manchester City Art Gallery, in 1909. A bronze version of the model is currently part of the TATE Britain collection (London).

Download Exhibition Catalogues for Charles Ricketts

Bb552bf66cf1e521fb8c2c3b5233b5a93718a4bd

The New Sculpture Movement


2018 Exhibition Catalogue

Dbd46e685a28ac27755a9d37d18cf2ac85798d2a

British New School


2013 Exhibition Catalogue

Works by Charles Ricketts

Browse By Artist

Gustinus Ambrosi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ambrosi, Gustinus

(Austrian, 1893-1975)

George Henry Aubertin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Aubertin, George Henry

(British, 1889-1970)

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)

 Carrier-Belleuse & Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carrier-Belleuse & Rodin

(French, 1824-1887 and 1840-1917)

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)

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)

Sir George Frampton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Frampton, Sir George

(English, 1860-1926)

Louis Julien (Jules) Franceschi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Franceschi, Louis Julien (Jules)

(French , 1825-1893)

 George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren

(British )

Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gilbert, Sir Alfred

(British, 1854-1934)

Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Goscombe John, Sir William

(British, 1860-1952)

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gérôme, Jean-Léon

(French, 1824-1904)

Frederick James Halnon, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Halnon, Frederick James

(British, 1881-1958)

Herbert Hampton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Hampton, Herbert

(British, 1862-1929)

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)

Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

McKenzie, Robert Tait

(Canadian, 1867-1938)

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)

Pablo Picasso, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Picasso, Pablo

(Spanish, 1881-1973)

Enzo Plazzotta, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Plazzotta, Enzo

(Italian, 1921-1981)

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)

Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ricketts, Charles

(English, 1866-1931)

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))

Eric Stanford, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Stanford, Eric

(British, Born 1932)

Alfred Stevens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Stevens, Alfred

(English, 1818-1875)

Arthur Strasser, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Strasser, Arthur

(Austrian, 1854-1927)

Thomas Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Thornycroft, Thomas

(British, 1815 – 1885)

Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Thornycroft, Sir William Hamo

(English, 1850-1925)

Albert Toft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Toft, Albert

(English, 1862-1949)

Reuben Townroe, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Townroe, Reuben

(British, 1835-1911)

Anton Van Wouw, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Van Wouw, Anton

(South African, 1862-1945)

Arthur George Walker, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Walker, Arthur George

(British, 1861 - 1936)

Ossip Zadkine, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Zadkine, Ossip

(Russian/French, 1890-1967)