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Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1830-1896)
Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1830-1896)

The Sluggard

Details
Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1830-1896)
The Sluggard
signed 'Fred Leighton' and inscribed 'THE SLUGGARD' (on the front of the plinth) and further inscribed 'PUBLISHED BY ARTHUR LESLIE COLLIE/39 B OLD BOND STREET LONDON/MAY 1ST 1890' (on the reverse of the plinth) and stamped 'FOUNDED BY J.W. SINGER & SONS/FROME SOMERSET' (on the side of the plinth)
bronze, dark-green-brown patina
20 5/8 in. (52.4 cm.) high

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Bernard Williams
Bernard Williams

Lot Essay

Probably inspired by his model Angelo Colorossi, seen stretching after a sitting, The Sluggard, or An Athlete Awakening from Sleep, the work's original title, was almost certainly conceived as a pendant to An Athlete wrestling a Python (1877). The full scale work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1886 and was awarded a medal of honour when it was shown at the Paris Exposition Universelle three years later. Acquired from Leighton's studio sale in 1896 by Henry Tate, the full size bronze is now in the Tate Gallery. Benedict Read suggests the subject can be seen '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.'

For examples of Leighton's An Athlete wrestling with a Python and Needless Alarms see lots 8 and 35 respectively.

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