LL 716


Together with a companion piece entitled ‘Music’ (exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1890), the original version of 'Dancing' (exhibited at the New Gallery in 1890), was commissioned by the Maharajah of Darbhanga. He intended them to stand in niches in his ballroom – presumably at the Maharajadhiraj Nargoana Palace at Darbhanga in India. The statue at the Lady Lever Art Gallery is considerably different in appearance from the version exhibited at the New Gallery and presumably sent to India. The Indian version had an elaborate headdress in the form of an exotic bird and flowing draperies which encircle the lower half of the body. At some stage, despite several complimentary reviews, Ford decided to remove some of the drapery. Lever was great friends with the sculptor Edward Onslow Ford. Ford encouraged Lever to buy New Sculpture with its experimental use of materials and poetic subjects. Today, Lady Lever Art Gallery has the finest collection of New Sculpture outside London. Lever originally displayed 'Dancing' and 'Linus' (LL 716 & LL 714) in the garden of his London house, The Hill at Hampstead. When the gallery was finished in 1922, Lever had them moved to Port Sunlight and displayed outside the south entrance of the gallery.