The collection of the artist; Gilbert Bayes Trust; Sotheby's London, 2 June 2010, lot 120; private collection, United Kingdom
L. Irvine & P. Atterbury, Gilbert Bayes: Sculptor 1872-1953, London, 1998, pp. 31-19 and 161
Gilbert Bayes received his training at the Royal Academy Schools where he won the prestigious gold medal and its accompanying travel scholarship. Following visits to France and Italy, the first sculpture he showed at the Academy was his Fountain of the Zodiac in 1902. Garden statuary and fountain figures were amongst the most characteristic strands of Bayes' oeuvre. The Sea Urchin belongs to a later period of Bayes' art. Dating to 1934 this is the original plaster model for the group, which was developed into a large garden concept from an earlier small statuette.
Bayes's unique style with its stylised forms and magical subjects, developed from the influence of Pre-Raphaelitism and the New Sculpture movement at the end of the 19th Century. With her naturalistic physique and fashionably dressed hair, Bayes has created a thoroughly modern nymph, who is nonetheless an enchanting one. Much of the charm of the group derives from the playful tension between the nymph and sprite as she pulls him towards her, gathered in a net, and he pulls back and pouts his lips to spout water at her.
Overall the condition of the plaster is very good. There is some wear to the surface consistent with age and handling, including some minor nicks and scratches. There is dust on the surface. There is a small loss to the patina at the boy's proper left elbow, and wear to the patina at the woman's chest. The plaster appears cast in sections and there are some slightly visible joints. There are losses to the wood to the underside on the Mermaid's proper left side. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."