• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5444

    Town & Country Perspectives - The Charles Plante Collection

    4 June 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 354



    Price Realised  


    signed 'Hamo Thornycroft' and with the underside of the base inscribed in ink 'Hamo Thornycroft R.A. 1919'
    bronze, brown patination
    16¼ in. (41.3 cm.) high

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Modelled for by Orazio Cervi a year earlier, Hamo Thornycroft's Teucer was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in plaster in 1881. The following year, the monumental bronze version was shown and both it and the plaster were received with outstanding acclaim: 'There has rarely been such unanimity of applause as greeted this statue ... it is very easy to admit that recent times have shown us nothing in England to compare with it.' (Miss Zimmern). Thornycroft had planned to model a series of athletes playing English games, primarily as studies of the nude. He had exhibited one such example, Putting the Stone, in 1880, and with Teucer was able to exploit a long-desired composition, that of the right angle. The subject-matter is taken from the Iliad. Teucer being the archer who missed hitting Hector eight times. Here he is captured by Thornycroft in a tense and strained attitude as he shoots a last arrow and watches its course. The Homeric theme adds a Romantic and grave air to the model, but above all Teucer was a supreme exercise in the modelling of the male nude at its peak of activity. It follows in the trail of Leighton's Athlete wrestling with a Python, but is more classical and graceful; it speaks of Grecian ideals, but the head wrapped in its band and the moving fingers of the right hand convey a truly late 19th century sense of poetry. As Thornycroft's biographer explained: "The care and attention that he lavished on each individual casting of those works that were made available in limited editions, for example Teucer or the Mower, not only demonstrates his professional artistic commitment, making each one a unique work of art; but also testifies ... to a desire to bring art into the home." (cf. Manning).

    Another cast of this bronze was sold Christie's London, A Private Collection of British Sculpture from Villa San Maurizio, La Jolla, California, 8 June 2006, lot 222.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    M. H. Spielmann, British Sculpture and Sculptors of To-day, London, 1901, pp. 36-44.
    E. Manning, Marble & Bronze, The Art and Life of Hamo Thornycroft, London, 1982, pp. 14-5, 17-8.
    S. Beattie, The New Sculpture, New Haven, 1983, fig. 140, pp. 146-9.