Gilbert worked on the model of Perseus Arming during the winter of 1880-1 following a visit to Florence where he had seen Cellini's Perseus and Medusa. However, Gilbert was insufficiently moved by Cellini's masterpiece, ultimately creating a work not limited by iconographic reference and which exposed a certain vulnerability within the subject. As he told the novelist and journalist Joseph Hatton, he 'conceived the idea that Perseus before becoming a hero was a mere mortal, and that he had to look to his equipment.' The finished work, depicting the graceful figure of a vulnerable youth, was first shown at the Grosvenor Gallery in London in 1882 where it received great critical acclaim. It went on to earn Gilbert an honourable mention at the Paris Salon the following year. The work was subsequently cast in three sizes and the present lot is an example of the largest model. Art historian Richard Dorment has suggested this cast is probably one of the ten casts of this model produced by the Compagnie des Bronzes during the artist's sojourn in Bruges from 1901 to 1920.