• Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Boy at Play - Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
Click image to enlarge

Boy at Play

Sir William Goscombe John

(British, 1860-1952)

Signed W. Goscombe John
inscribed E. Gruet Jne Fondeur Paris.
Bronze with dark and lighter brown patination
Height: 26 1/4'' (66 cm)

Conceived 1895 and cast circa 1900


Boy at Play is perhaps the most famous sculpture by Sir William Goscombe John. It was first exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1895 and won a gold medal at the Paris International Exhibition of 1900.

The young boy is depicted playing a game of Knuckles, where a stone is thrown out in front of the participant, who must reach it with his toe without falling over. The sculptor wonderfully captures the balance and concentration of the boy, combining together the slight muscular tension and youthful grace of the subject. In this light, the work clearly shows the influence of John’s master, Aimé-Jules Dalou, and Alfred Gilbert.

A year after the piece was first exhibited, the TATE Gallery bought the life-size bronze of the work for £500 as part of the Chantrey Bequest. A second life-size version, known as the Lady Goscombe John Memorial, was given by the artist in memory of his wife to the National Museum of Wales in 1924.

John produced two other reduced scale versions of the work – 66 cm and 45 cm tall respectively. The taller version, such as the present example is the rarest, displaying a fully worked surface reminiscent of the finished, life-size work. At least four casts of this medium version were produced, two of which are housed at the Manchester City Art Gallery and the Newport Museum and Art Gallery respectively. The smaller version can be found in several private collections, as well as in the Newport Art Gallery (Gwent) and The National Museum of Wales (Cardiff), and is characterised by a more ‘impressionistic’ modelling and by a larger base.

Download Exhibition Catalogues for Sir William Goscombe John

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The New Sculpture Movement


2018 Exhibition Catalogue

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British New School


2013 Exhibition Catalogue

Works by Sir William Goscombe John

Browse By Artist

Gustinus Ambrosi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(Austrian, 1893-1975)

George Henry Aubertin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Michael Ayrton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Aimé-Jules Dalou, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(French, 1838-1902)

Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Sir Jacob Epstein, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Pierre Félix Fix-Masseau, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Sir George Frampton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Louis Julien (Jules) Franceschi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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 George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(British, 1854-1934)

Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(British, 1860-1952)

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(French, 1824-1904)

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

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Fritz Klimsch, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Klimsch, Fritz

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Gerald Laing, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(UK, 1936-2011)

Frederic Lord  Leighton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Leighton, Frederic Lord

(English, 1830-1896)

Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Lucchesi, Andrea

(Italian, 1860-1924)

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)

Ivan Mestrovic, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mestrovic, Ivan

(Croatian, 1883-1962)

George Minne, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(Belgian, 1866-1941)

Henry Moore, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(English, 1898-1986)

Edward Onslow-Ford, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(English, 1852-1901)

Eduardo Paolozzi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(British, 1924-2005)

Pablo Picasso, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Picasso, Pablo

(Spanish, 1881-1973)

Enzo Plazzotta, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Hiram Powers, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(American, 1805-1873)

Jean-Jacques Pradier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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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

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(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)

Thomas Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Thornycroft, Thomas

(British, 1815 – 1885)

Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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(English, 1850-1925)

Albert Toft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Toft, Albert

(English, 1862-1949)

Reuben Townroe, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

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Anton Van Wouw, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Van Wouw, Anton

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Arthur George Walker, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Walker, Arthur George

(British, 1861 - 1936)

Ossip Zadkine, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Zadkine, Ossip

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