bronze, dark brown patina
23 ¼ in. (59 cm.) high
Conceived circa 1888.
By Sir William Hamo Thornycroft RA (BRITISH, 1850-1925)
Italian model Orazio Cervi (1854 – 1942).
This is apparently the first portrayal in British sculpture of a labourer in his working clothes.
In 1882 Mr. Thornycroft was not represented at the Academy by new work; but in spite of that, his was the pervading spirit of the sculpture-room. The Artemis and the Teucer were both there, the one in marble, the other in bronze: I may safely say, that never before had an English sculptor had two such figures together in one English exhibition. The next was a year of recueillement; and then, in 1884, came the Mower, the statue reproduced in our plate, which is, in some ways, the finest thing its author has yet produced. Its peculiar strength lies in its combination of style with reality, of imagination with sincerity of outlook.
This is a real mower, a real English peasant, in whom there is no touch of surrender to conventional notions of the picturesque beyond the substitution of breeches for trousers and the nakedness of the torso.
The almost classic regularity of the features has been pointed to as another touch of conventionality; but here there is nothing more than can be fairly accounted for by care in selecting a model.
The modeling of the torso is even more searching than in the Teucer; while in the pose, in the management of the drapery, even to the single brace on which so much depends, in the hang of the scythe, and in the provision of exactly the right amount of shadow required to help the facial expression, Mr. Thornycroft has contrived to blend life and unity with very singular success.