William Calder Marshall, R. A. (1813-1894) was born in Edinburgh, studied first there, then from 1834 in London under Edward Hodges Baily (d. 1867) and Sir Francis Chantrey (d. 1841). After a short period in Rome he returned to London in 1839, where he became one of the leading Victorian sculptors in marble. Elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1842 and the Royal Academy in London in 1844, he became a full Academician of the latter in 1852 and was made a chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1878.
Marshall befriended John Gibson and Lawrence Macdonald under whose auspices he designed several 'ideal' works after the antique. The present sculpture, thought to represent Ariadne as consort to Dionysus (or Bacchus) the god of wine, is part of a series of subjects by Marshall drawn from Greek mythology. Hebe Rejected (1837), partially draped and classical posed resting against a tree-stump, shows many similarities, however perhaps the clearest comparable is the Bacchante, Dancing Girl Reposing, which won Marshall a £500 premium at the Art Union of 1845.
Among notable public works by Marshall is the group of Agriculture for the Albert Memorial (1864), the pediment group for Bolton Town Hall (1870), three biblical reliefs (1863) for St. Paul's cathedral, and statues of lords Clarendon (1852) and Somers (1855) for the new houses of parliament (see R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors, London, rev.ed., 1968, pp. 256-257).