19 February 2003
Thomas Nelson Maclean (1845-1894)
The Spring Festival
depicting two female figures dancing and holding tambourines aloft, on a circular naturalistic base signed 'T. Nelson Maclean Sculpt. 1881' and inscribed 'Suggested by Alma Tadema's Picture'
29 in. (73 cm.) high
Published by Bellman & Ivey
with William Doyle Galleries, New York, 21 March 1979, no. 758, when acquired by the present owner.
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J. A. Blaikie, 'An English Sculptor', Magazine of Art, 1886, pp. 233-8.
S. Beattie, The New Sculpture, Yale, 1983, pp. 137 & 259, no. 17.
Another cast was exhibited by Bellman & Ivey, London, 1885, no. 35.
Inspired by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema's painting On the Road to the Temple of Ceres (lot 25), that exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1880, the bronze was cast in Paris from the original study for a life-size marble group. The casting, publication and exhibition of this group was pioneering exercise by Maclean and Bellman & Ivey. Blaikie, reviewing the 1885 exhibition in the Magazine of Art remarked on the fact 'That sculpture may be reproduced and published, just as paintings are, is something of a revelation to many who gladly hear the message that exhorts them to surround themselves with beautiful objects. At Mr Maclean's exhibition this fact was clearly established, that by means of artistic reproduction in bronze the most beautiful creations of contemporary sculpture may take their rightful place among etchings, drawings and other objects of decoration.' Susan Beattie also noted that Maclean was 'active in promoting small-scale, domestic sculpture and was among the first to reflect the influence of contemporary painting' (op. cit., p. 137).
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