Gilbert made his plaster model of Perseus Arming in Rome in the winter of 1880-1 and exhibited the lost-wax bronze cast at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1882. It was received with critical acclaim both in London and at the Paris Salon the following year, where it earned Gilbert an honourable mention and secured his international recognition as the foremost British sculptor of his generation.
Commenting on his success in Paris, Gilbert wrote that it '‘gave me great encouragement to continue the task I had set myself- that was, to go on writing my own history by symbol'’. Gilbert’s description of Perseus Arming continues: '‘I conceived the idea that Perseus before becoming a hero was a mere mortal, and that he had to look to his equipment’ and so Gilbert quite literally depicts Perseus looking over his shoulder to inspect his winged sandal: ‘a youth vulnerable, untested, but equipping himself for the trials of life’'.
R. Dorment, Alfred Gilbert, New Haven and London, 1985, pp. 44-46; R. Dorment, Alfred Gilbert Sculptor and Goldsmith, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1986, pp.106-8, nos 10-11; S. Calloway and L. Federle Orr (eds.), The Cult of Beauty. The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900, exh. cat. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2011, pp. 242-245
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