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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)

NEEDLESS ALARMS

Details
Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1830-1896)
Needless Alarms
inscribed 'Pubd BY.S.L.Fane/19 Glasshouse St/London.June. 1906' (on the side of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina with lighter high points
20 in. (50.8 cm.) high
Provenance
Purchased by the present owners family in 1906 and thence by descent.
Sale Room Notice
Please note the additional provenance

Purchased by the present owners family in 1906 and thence by descent.

Brought to you by

Bernard Williams
Bernard Williams

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Lot Essay

Leighton's third and most unusual sculpture, Needless Alarms was exhibited alongside his second and more widely known work, The Sluggard, at the Royal Academy in 1886 (no. 1922). In its depiction of a young girl turning away in fright from a toad at her feet, the work conforms to a favourite pre-occupation of the New Sculptors, that of presenting the youthful naked form in strong contrapposto. Unlike The Sluggard and his celebrated work of 1877, An Athlete wrestling with a Python, both large-scale sculptures, Needless Alarms falls quite definitely into the category of statuette, and its appeal to a less literary public as a decorative object for the domestic interior is re-enforced by the obvious humour with which the figure has been imbued. This fact was emphasised by Leonora Lang, critic for the Art Journal, who wrote in 1886 that Leighton had 'never done anything more charming, or that appealed to a larger number'.

For examples of Leighton's The Sluggard and An Athlete wrestling with a Python see lots 36 and 8 respectively.

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