Yale University's 1982 reference on Victorian Sculpture refers to a previously untraceable figure of Andromeda dated 1842, which is undoubtedly the present lot and is likely to be the earliest-recorded version of the subject; pre-dating two additional full-length statues by more than six years. The second figure, titled 'Andromeda Chained' was suitably commissioned in 1848 by the fourth Earl of Aberdeen, George Hamilton Gordon, a self-proclaimed Greek scholar who, accompanied by his confidant James Hamilton, the first Duke of Abercorn, and the antiquary Richard Payne Knight, 'made evenings of modern fashion resemble a Greek symposium for learning and literature'. Gordon's scholarship and influence as Hamilton's legal guardian is indisputable, as the third Macdonald Andromeda, executed in 1850, was commissioned by Hamilton himself for his Baronscourt estate.
Born in 1799 in Perthshire, Lawrence Macdonald studied under the local mason, Thomas Gibson, before entering the Trustees' Academy at Edinburgh in 1822. In the same year, the artist migrated to Rome and became one of the founding members of The British Academy of Arts and was later fêted by the 1851 Literary Gazette as 'one of the most distinguished ornaments of the British School of Sculpture'. Celebrated as one of the most popular portraitists of his time, Macdonald's other patrons included Osborne House, Windsor Castle and the National Portrait Gallery.