FREDERIC, LORD LEIGHTON
signed: Fred Leighton and entitled: THE SLUGGARD
bronze, dark brown patina, on a veined green marble base
cast circa 1920s/ 1930s
Overall the condition of the bronze is very good, with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There are a few minor pits to the surface consistent with the casting process. There are a few minor nicks and abrasions.
There is general wear to the marble base.
"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."
The Sluggard is one of the iconic masterpieces of 19th-century British sculpture. Its languid pose captures the essence of male beauty and is the epitome of the masculine ideal. Leighton's Sluggard was first exhibited as a clay sketch at the Royal Academy in 1886 and was conceived as the pendant to the artist's earlier masterpiece, An Athlete struggling with a Python, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1877. The Sluggard was originally entitled Athlete awakening from sleeping and was inspired by the languid stretching of Leighton's muscular male model Giuseppe Valona after a long sitting. Leighton rapidly captured the pose in clay and thus created one of the masterpieces of Victorian sculpture, which has been described as 'a symbol of the art of sculpture, liberated by Leighton, flexing itself for renewed activity after a long time in the shackles of convention' (Benedict Read, Apollo, op. cit., p. 68). The bronze editions were produced by Arthur Leslie Collie and cast by Singer. Casts which bear both the Collie and Singer inscriptions are believed to date to circa 1896-1900. According to Nicholas Penny, casts only inscribed with the founder's name were made later. The present bronze is one of a number without a foundry mark which are likely to have been made in the interwar years.
N. Penny, Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum: 1540 to the Present Day, vol. iii, Oxford, 1992, p. 114, no. 533; B. Read, 'Leighton as a sculptor: Releasing sculpture from convention,' Apollo, February 1996, pp. 65-69