• Apollo and Daphne - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Apollo and Daphne - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Apollo and Daphne - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Apollo and Daphne - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Apollo and Daphne - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Apollo and Daphne - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Apollo and Daphne - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Apollo and Daphne - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Apollo and Daphne - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
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Apollo and Daphne

Francis Derwent Wood

(British, 1871-1926)

Signed Derwent Wood RA
Bronze with brown and dark green patination
Height: 28" (71 cm)

Conceived circa 1911 and cast between 1920 and 1926


Provenance:

1871–1926

Gift of Florence Mary Schmidt (1873–1969), the artist’s widow, to the critic Paul George Konody (1872–1933)
Private English Collection

This model is incredibly rare, as this is the only known version of it in bronze. Another version in plaster is documented in a photograph currently part of the Royal Academy archives, dated circa 1911. The location of this plaster is currently unknown.

Apollo and Daphne, c.1911, photograph, collection of the Royal Academy of Arts, London

The piece’s theme is based on Ovid’s Metamorphosis. In the book, the god Apollo, having been shot by Eros’ arrow, falls madly in love with the river nymph Daphne. When Daphne rejects his advances, Apollo chases her through the woods, driven by lust. Just as she is about to be caught, Daphne calls out to her father, the river god Peneus, to help her and Peneus turns her into a laurel tree. Unable to marry Daphne, Apollo grants sacred status to the tree and adopts the crown of laurel leaves as his symbol.

In the present piece, Wood depicts the moment before Daphne is turned into laurel, depicting the tree leaves and trunk merging into her legs and body, while Apollo, wearing his wreath, kisses her passionately on the neck. The subject was approached throughout art history by numerous artists. In sculpture, the most famous example is Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne (ca 1622, Galleria Borghese, Rome). Nonetheless, the concept of a double figure is relatively unusual in late 19th-century sculpture, and particularly in Wood’s oeuvre.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Apollo and Daphne, 1625, Marble. Commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese

The female figure was first used in Wood’s earlier work, Motherhood, which was conceived by the artist in the late 1890s. The repetition of models for multiple compositions is an aspect found in numerous New Sculpture artists—above all, Alfred Gilbert.

Apollo and Daphne compared to Motherhood, circa 1900, bronze

Since the present example is inscribed ‘RA’ after the artist’s name, and considering that Derwent Wood was elected to the Royal Academy only in 1920, it is possible to date this specific model between 1920 and 1927—the year of the artist’s death. This cast was gifted by Wood’s widow to the art historian and critic Paul George Konody (1872– 1933), the principal writer on Modern Art in the interwar period.

Download Exhibition Catalogues for Francis Derwent Wood

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The New Sculpture Movement


2018 Exhibition Catalogue

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Nude


2016 Exhibition Catalogue

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British New School


2013 Exhibition Catalogue

Works by Francis Derwent Wood

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