Signed Onslow Ford
Bronze with rich dark and light brown patination
Height: 13 5/8'' (34.8 cm)
Conceived in 1890 and cast within the artist's lifetime
In Ford's original model for Dancing, conceived as a pendent to Music (1890), the half nude figure wears a large head ornamentation set with two wings. This was illustrated in the 1890 edition of the Magazine of Art, where the author suggests that the headdress was inspired by Alfred Gilbert's Enchanted Chair (1886). This model was later exhibited at the Fine Art Society in 1902. Another life-size cast of the work, without the headdress, is in the collection of the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool. The present model is a reduction of the Lady Lever version, with the position of the left hand differing slightly.
As is typical in Ford's work, the dainty, idealised figure is left free from classical connotations or mythological themes. The graceful swooping of the dancer’s arms and her delicate posture merely serve to illustrate the movement and joys of dance itself, rather than answering a specific iconographic rule. The result is a charming and elegant piece, whose compositional lightness is of the highest quality in late-Victorian sculpture.