• Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Venus - Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
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Venus

Francis Derwent Wood

(British, 1871-1926)

Signed Francis Derwent Wood
Dated 1909
Bronze with brown patination
Height: 19 5/16'' (49.1 cm)

Conceived and cast circa 1909


The current model of Venus directly references the most famous image of the goddess, the Birth of Venus (1485), by the Italian Renaissance master, Sandro Botticelli, now in the collection of the Uffizi museum, Florence.

In depicting Venus’ pose and flowing hair, Wood follows almost exactly the composition of Botticelli’s painting, changing however the position of her right arm, which bends behind her back, clasping her left one. By doing so, the artist subtly highlights the presence of the fish held in Venus’ left hand. As the fish represented fertility and birth, it is the only iconographic element that allows the goddess’ identification in the composition.

Wood returned to the subject of Venus throughout his career. He first devised a series of large niche figures representing female mythological subjects, namely Venus, Diana, Ceres, Juno and Paris, in 1901. The sculptures were probably created to adorn a fountain in the country estate of Shipley Hall, in Derbyshire, but did not survive its demolition in 1948.

The present work, dated 1909, is a reduced form of that earlier model. Its visual language is much closer to Wood’s series The Four Seasons (ca 1906), a set of which was held in the collection of the architectural writer and collector Charles Handley-Read (1916–1971).

Another version of Venus based on the Shipley Hall model is currently housed in the Victoria Art Gallery collection, Bath. Another more stylised and further reduced in size version is at Windsor Castle. This version was created by the artist to decorate Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. The re-use and adjustment of models for different compositions is often seen in Derwent Wood’s later work, and indeed is a feature that can be found in other New Sculpture artists, especially of the earlier generation, such as Alfred Gilbert.

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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