Stephens on Marshall


F. G. Stephens, "Mr. William Calder Marshall, R.A," Artists at Home, 1884.

William Calder Marshall

John & Charles WatkinsWilliam Calder Marshall, 1860s

<em>A Dancing Girl</em>

W. C. Marshall, Dancing Girl, ca. 1848. “'The Dancing Girl reposing,'” Stephens writes, "obtained an Art Union premium of £500, and large numbers of reductions of the statue were distributed among subscribers to that society."

F. G. Stephens discusses the Scottish sculptor William Calder Marshall’s artistic accomplishments in his abbreviated professional biography for Artists at Home. In the beginning of the piece, Stephens refers to Marshall as the “Doyen of English sculptors,” indicating that he considered the artist the most respected and prominent sculptor of the 1880s. Although this biography is not as admiring as the ones written for Sir Frederic Leighton, John Everett Millais, or Sir John Gilbert, it is in line with most of the other artists profiled. One of the most important points Stephens makes is that Marshall never produced portraits just to make money, as so many sculptors did at the time. Marshall created imaginative works “select[ing] forms from Nature best suited to express the type of sentiment of his works, not, as the realists do, copying individual and common nature.” Overall, Stephens’s commentary on Marshall’s accomplishments is straightforward, highlighting his lifetime achievements and distinguished artworks.

Gabriella Meier