• Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Physical Energy -  George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
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Physical Energy

George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren

(British, )

Inscribed Physical Energy
Signed G.F.Watts and T.H.Wren 1914.
Bronze with brown patination
Height: 18'' (47 cm)

Conceived 1883-1902 and cast circa 1914


Provenance:

Acquired by Archibald Baird-Murray (1872-1945) and his wife Margaret (1875-1965) immediately or just prior to the Second World War

Eileen Baird-Murray (1915-1987)

Private English collection (ca 1987)

The original concept for the present work dates to 1876-1883, when the artist was producing his monumental bronze Hugh Lupus for the Marquis of Westminster, now at Eaton Hall, Cheshire. As the patron left little leeway to the artist, Watts was unable to express his full potential. Physical Energy gave him that opportunity.

The first ever monumental piece was modelled in the grounds of Watts’ New Little Holland House. It was cast in bronze in 1902 and transported to Cape Town, South Africa, where it was installed as the focal point of the Cecil Rhodes Memorial. The sculpture was to represent the energy of Rhodes, who singlehandedly shaped the development of South Africa in the late 19th century, setting up two successful companies, De Beers and Niger Oil, among other business ventures, and taking active part in the political life of the country.

Once the bronze was delivered and installed, Watts continued working on its composition. The second monumental version of the sculpture, which employed a heavily textured surface, was erected in bronze at Kensington Gardens, London, by Lord Holland, where it can be still seen today. The ‘hammered finish’ of the sculpture was certainly created in response to the changing tastes of the time, being influenced by a more stylised, modernist style.

Watts died before the piece was finished. This was brought to completion by his assistant, Thomas Wren, who eventually erected it in 1909. Another posthumous monumental bronze was produced in 1959 and erected on the grounds of the National Archives of Zimbabwe. In 2017, the Watts Gallery Trust agreed to cast a new bronze cast of Physical Energy to mark the bicentenary of the artist’s death. The piece was first installed in the courtyard of the Royal Academy and is now permanently at the Watts’ Museum.

Watts’ assistant, Thomas Wren was responsible for creating a series of smaller bronze maquettes based on the full-size gesso housed at the artist’s house and museum, Limnerslease. This was likely commissioned by either Mary Watts or the Watts Gallery Trustees so that they may be commercialised to support the gallery’s finances. The production started in 1914 and Wren recalled that the production of 50 bronzes was agreed with the art foundry Parlanti, based in London. However, at the outbreak of the war, the foundry was moved over to the production of armaments and the venture came to an abrupt end. It is therefore impossible to know how many of these bronzes were actually produced, but they are certainly rarely seen.

Download Exhibition Catalogue for George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren

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The New Sculpture Movement


2018 Exhibition Catalogue

Works by George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren

Browse By Artist

Gustinus Ambrosi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ambrosi, Gustinus

(Austrian, 1893-1975)

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)

 Carrier-Belleuse & Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carrier-Belleuse & Rodin

(French, 1824-1887 and 1840-1917)

Lynn Chadwick, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Chadwick, Lynn

(British, 1914-2003)

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)

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 )

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gérôme, Jean-Léon

(French, 1824-1904)

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)

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)

Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mackennal, Sir Edgar Bertram

(Australian, 1863-1931)

Marino Marini, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Marini, Marino

(Italian, 1901-1980)

Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

McKenzie, Robert Tait

(Canadian, 1867-1938)

Antonin Mercié, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mercié, Antonin

(French, 1845-1916)

Ivan Mestrovic, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mestrovic, Ivan

(Croatian, 1883-1962)

Constantin Meunier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Meunier, Constantin

(Belgian, 1831-1905)

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)

Charles d'Orville Pilkington Jackson, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Pilkington Jackson, Charles d'Orville

(British, 1887-1973)

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)

Raymond Sudre, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Sudre, Raymond

(French, 1870-1962)

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)