• The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • The Call of Motherhood - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
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The Call of Motherhood

Francis Derwent Wood

(British, 1871-1926)

Signed F. Derwent Wood
Bronze with light brown patination
Height: 20 1/2'' (52cm)

Conceived and cast circa 1890


This work dates to the late 1890s, when Derwent Wood was studying and working in Paris and Glasgow. The piece’s composition shows the influence of the Art Nouveau style, embracing organic imagery as well as a strong symbolism.

The piece depicts a youthful woman in the nude as she moves forward, leaving behind a rocky and leafy structure from which the figures of three children appear. The woman’s stance, her arched back and slightly pointed left foot suggest a mood of exhilaration and happiness, due to the child behind her hugging her neck.

The symbolism of the sculpture offers a twofold interpretation, suggested both by its iconography and title. First, the piece can be interpreted as a direct allegory of motherhood, presenting the woman as the creator and nurturer of the human race: the form from which mankind—represented by babies tumbling from her hair—emanates. The second interpretation sees the female figure as Mother Earth, the central figure in the circle of life. In this light, Wood creates a circular composition, as the earth at the base of the sculpture produces branches and shoots that turn into children, then into human form, which will become earth again.

This central figure was later revisited by Derwent Wood in his sculpture of Apollo and Daphne (1911). In this circumstance, the artist depicted the same upper torso, head and arms of the figure, but adjusted the organic structure at the back to include the figure of Apollo.

Works by Francis Derwent Wood

Download Exhibition Catalogues for Francis Derwent Wood

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British New School


2013 Exhibition Catalogue

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Nude


2016 Exhibition Catalogue

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The New Sculpture Movement


2018 Exhibition Catalogue

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