Monday, March 18, 2013

Sculpture of the Day: “Irish Peasant Woman” by Edward Onslow Ford, 1881

Irish Peasant Woman
Edward Onslow Ford, 1881
Lady Lever Art Gallery

In the 1880’s art was finding a push toward realism. This was especially evident in the style of sculpture known as “New Sculpture.” One had to be careful, however. As an artist, it’s never a good idea to be too realistic when sculpting members of one’s own family.

Such was the case with sculptor Edward Onslow Ford who cast the bronze bust of an aged relative. He was quite proud of himself for showing the natural deterioration of old age. However, according to Ford’s daughter, the sitter “recoiled in horror” when she saw it for the first time.

The realistic trend didn’t last terribly long. Ford gave it up and focused on sculpting ideal busts of perfect young beauties. It’s just a pity that whomever this “Irish Peasant Woman” is, didn’t get the same treatment—at least for her sake.

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