The Penitent Thief

Francis Derwent Wood, 1918

LL 729

Part of

Lady Lever South End star objects

Selected from hundreds of items, these fantastic star objects give a flavour of the new displays you will see in the refurbished South End galleries.

About this object

The artists creating the ‘New Sculpture’ aspired to create poetic realism in their work. However, this became weakened under a deluge of commissions for rather conventional busts and monuments. Opportunities to work on religious subject matter, so rich in potential for the sculptor to include expression and meaning in a piece, were rare.

This bust - or sculpture of a head - shows one of the two thieves crucified alongside Christ. It powerfully demonstrates the sculptor’s ability to manipulate and model surfaces with deep furrows and high, sharp ridges in order to produce a face of great power and poignancy. The expressive vigour of modelling and emotional realism of this piece make it closer to the work of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840 - 1917) than anything else exhibited by the Keswick-born Wood during this period. Wood was appointed Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1918, the year in which he created this bust.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Francis Derwent Wood (British: English, born:15 October 1871, died:19 February 1926)
  • Date
    1918
  • Materials
    Bronze
  • Measurements
    174 cm
  • Physical description
    Sculpture bust of a man, looking down, with a dark green patina.
  • Related people
    Florence Derwent Wood (Previous owner); Francis Derwent Wood (Artist/maker)
  • Credit line
    Presented by the artist's widow in December 1945
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Lady Lever Art Gallery collections

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Florence Derwent Wood

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1945
    Disposal method: Presented to the Lady Lever Art Gallery

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: DERWENT WOOD, 1918
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
Object view = Fine Art
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