Details & Cataloguing

19th & 20th Century Sculpture


Gilbert Bayes
1872 - 1953
signed: GILBERT BAYES 1932
patinated plaster, on a wood base
141cm., 55½in. overall
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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

Catalogue Note

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 1932 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.

19th & 20th Century Sculpture