Sculpture, 'New Sculpture' and French Salon sculpture
Lord Leverhulme was more progressive in his choice of sculptures than he was in paintings. Besides the purchase of more traditional works by artists such as John Flaxman, he also became the single most important patron of the 'New Sculpture' movement. This was largely through friendships with artists like Edward Onslow Ford and William Goscombe John.
'New Sculpture' brought a new poetic realism into British sculpture with a wider range of techniques, subject matter and pose. It was seen as a reaction to the neo-classicism of sculptors such as John Gibson and his followers.
Leverhulme also built a remarkable collection of contemporary sensual and erotic French sculpture, which he bought at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. Many of these works, like some of the 'New Sculpture', are mixed media. They reveal much about Leverhulme's attitude to the nude. He may have felt able to exhibit more erotically charged works in the medium of sculpture than he could ever do with paintings.