A Widow and Her Children Mourning a Fallen Warrior

WAG 10842


Gibson came to Liverpool as a boy from North Wales and trained with the town's leading masons. With financial help from Liverpool friends he settled in Rome and became one of the most prominent neo-classical sculptors of the age. Much of his work took the form of tomb sculpture, and this drawing is related to a design by him for an unidentified funerary monument, published in 1852. An important collection of Gibson's sculpture is held at the Walker Art Gallery and at the Oratory by Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. In the later half of the 20th century, the Walker acquired several drawings by Gibson, including this one. Its loose handling and the tenderness with which the subject is treated are in contrast with the severity of Gibson's carvings, although it is still heavily influenced by neoclassical ideals. Gibson's success relied on the support of his patrons in Rome, London and Liverpool. Some of his works were commissioned by people who were involved in the transatlantic slave trade and were responsible for the enslavement of many African people. We are continuing to research these contested colonial histories to fully understand their connection to Gibson's work in the Walker Art Gallery.