• Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Sigurd with Ring - Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
Click image to enlarge

Sigurd with Ring

Gilbert Bayes

(British, 1872-1953)

Signed Gilbert Bayes 1909
Entitled on the bronze base: 'He Who Would Win To The Heavens & Be As The Gods On High Must Tremble Nought At The Road & The Place Where Men Folk Die.'
Bronze with rich brown and green patination inlaid with enamel on a carved marble base
Height: 35 1/6" (89.3 cm)

Conceived and cast 1909


There are five known examples of this model, two of which are in the Gilbert Bayes Trust and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, respectively. A further two casts of the model incorporating a sword, rather than a ring, are part of the TATE Britain (London) and Ashmolean Museum (Oxford) collections.

The present work is one of the sculptor’s most dramatic and arresting pieces, both for its subject matter and for Bayes’ virtuoso use of bronze casting, enamel and marble carving. It was first exhibited by the artist at the Royal Academy in 1909, receiving great public appreciation.

The piece is based on William Morris’ epic poem The Story of Sigurd the Volsung, which was published for the first time in 1876. The novel was a great success among the English public and functioned as a fundamental source of inspiration for another great writer of the 20th century – J.R.R. Tolkien.

In the novel, Odin’s servant, the Valkyrie Brunhild, is condemned to sleep for eternity as a punishment for her disobedience to the god, trapped in a ring of flames. Sigurd, returning from slaying the dragon Fafnir, heroically manages to rescue her by riding his horse, Grane, through the fire. The pair fall madly in love and Sigurd gives Brunhild a ring from Fafnir’s booty as a token of devotion, then departing on a journey.

Reaching the kingdom of the Niblungs, Sigurd is given a potion by the witch Grimhild, which makes him fall in love with her daughter, Gudrun, and the couple marries. Distraught by the event, Brunhild reveals Sigurd’s weak point to her suitor, Gudrun’s brother Gunnar, who kills Sigurd. On his dying bed, the potion wears off, and the hero declares his undying love for Brunhild. Stricken by grief, the Valkyrie jumps on Sigurd’s funeral pyre so that she may join him again in the afterlife.

In Bayes’ depiction, the ring Sigurd holds in his hand and the helmet he is wearing are both part of Fafnir’s booty. The tree that appears on one side of the enamelled saddle is the heraldic symbol of Sigurd’s house, while the horse depiction of the horse, Grane, appears on the other side, among trumpets of glory.

The carved marble relief develops Sigurd’s story further. On one side, Brunhild guides her horse as she is followed by the three sons of the Niblung’s house, including Gunnar, who will eventually kill Sigurd. Immediately behind them, the witch Grimhild carries a cup filled with the magic love potion. On the other side, the relief shows the body of Sigurd taken to burial amid the grief of the whole people.

Inscribed around the base in Lombardic characters are two lines from Morris’ book, inviting men not to fear death if they wish to be like the gods.

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The New Sculpture Movement


2018 Exhibition Catalogue

Works by Gilbert Bayes

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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

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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

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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

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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)