After his large-scale sculptures of An Athlete Struggling with a Python and The Sluggard, Needless Alarms is Leighton's third and most unusual sculpture, but one which had a remarkable influence on young contemporary sculptors such as Onslow Ford and Goscombe John. The New Sculptors enjoyed experimenting with the youthful naked form in strong contrapposto, twisting around from something in fright or shock. Needless Alarms may have been the first of these experiments. Another is Henry Pegram's The Bather of 1895, while the supreme example is Gilbert's Comedy and Tragedy.
The model was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1886 and was admired by Millais, to whom Leighton presented it. In return the painter gave him Shelling Peas (Leighton House), a picture specially executed in thanks. Collie published a small edition of Needless Alarms in 1897 (to which the present cast belongs), and one was shown at the seminal exhibition Sculpture For the Home at the Fine Art Society in 1902. Another Collie cast of Needless Alarms with the same original socle is at Leighton House.
S. Beattie, The New Sculpture, New Haven and London, 1983, p.199; Leighton and his Sculptural Legacy: British Sculpture 1875-1930, London, 1996, nos. 21-22, pp. 51-52; Exposed: The Victorian Nude, exh. cat. Tate Britain, London, 2001, nos. 123-124, p. 195