'Puck', Harriet Goodhue Hosmer (1856)

A white sculpture of a little boy with wings, sitting on what appears to be a toadstool

Accession number WAG 9117

'Puck', the mischievous sprite of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Nights Dream', was Harriet Hosmer's most popular work. The first version of 1855 - 6 was followed by some 30 marble replicas that were said to have brought the sculptor a profit of over 30,000 dollars. One of these was purchased in 1859 by the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) and this is almost certainly that version. Harriet Hosmer was the pupil of John Gibson and the leading figure among an important group of American women sculptors working in Rome in the second half of the 19th century. 'Puck' represents the more playful side of her work, which also embraced the classically-conceived subjects advocated by Gibson.

Purchased, 1976.