The Sculptor's Wife

LL 704


Set on a marble base, this is a portrait of Marthe Weiss, Goscombe John’s wife. It belongs to a sequence of portraits of the artist's family, in particular his wife and daughter. This bronze head has an intimate simplicity and directness but it also displays a striking contrast of texture between the smooth skin and the intricate, closely-worked and sensitively-modelled hair. This bust is very similar, although not identical, to another bronze bust of the artist's wife at National Museum of Wales, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1894. The two works differ slightly in the interpretation of the collar which is raised up and fastened with a bow in the former version. Both sculptures, however, have been inscribed, ‘My Dear Wife’ and show the sitter gazing forward with her hair tied up from the face.