This bronze statue of the Roman Goddess, Diana, is by the British sculptor, Gilbert Bayes. Diana was the Roman goddess of hunting, the moon, chastity and childbirth.
Lord Lever’s son, the second Lord Leverhulme, purchased the sculpture from the artist. He presented it to the Lady Lever Art Gallery in memory of his friend, the architect, Segar Segar-Owen. He helped to design the Gallery.
Diana has been a popular subject for artists throughout history. Diana represented the protection of chastity, purity and married love. She attracted a group of devoted female followers who hunted with her and vowed to remain virgins, like the goddess herself. She protected her nymph-followers from intrusion by men, creating a secluded and self-sufficient all-female community. Her image was therefore often used in art as moral inspiration for women. Domestic objects and paintings in women's bed chambers portrayed Diana and her all-female companions as exemplary models.
In this sculpture, Diana is represented as a strong, free, capable huntress, holding her bow and walking the world without fear. It is images such as this that have made Diana such an iconic figure to feminist and lesbian women wanting to live independently of men, or in all-female communities. Women like queen Christina of Sweden, known for her lesbian affairs, styled themselves on Diana and groups of women have gathered together under her name since ancient times.
More information about the life and work of Gilbert Bayes can be found on the website of The Gilbert Bayes Trust.