Childhood - Head of a Child

LL 701


This is a bust of the artist's only daughter, Muriel, at the age of four. Reflecting the New Sculptors' interest in multiples, Goscombe John produced this portrait of Muriel in three formats; this head study (at the Lady Lever Art Gallery), a full-length version (exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1896 as ‘Muriel’), and a head and shoulders version (exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1897 as ‘A Maid so Young’). Muriel later married LV Fildes, son of the painter Luke Fildes. LV Fildes was for many years a Trustee of the Lady Lever Art Gallery but it was Muriel herself who presented to the gallery various works by her father of his family. Both the painter, Luke Fildes, and the sculptor, Goscombe John, were personal friends of Lever, so these family portraits have a very special place in the gallery.