Watts’s equine sculpture rides again


The gesso grosso model of Watts’s Physical Energy, from which a new cast is being made. © Watts Gallery–Artists’ Village

A new cast in bronze of George Frederic Watts’s monumental sculpture Physical Energy is being created from the Victorian artist’s original gesso grosso model to mark the bicentenary of the Victorian artist’s birth. When completed by Pangolin Editions later this year, the sculpture of a horse and rider is due to be installed on a site near the Watts Gallery-Artists’ Village in Surrey, in the south-east of England. The gallery houses the original model as well as paintings by the prolific artist. Watts never intended his sculpture, which symbolises the restless pursuit of great things, to commemorate a Victorian worthy. But in 1902, he allowed a cast to be made for a memorial in Cape Town, South Africa, to the arch imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Another cast made in 1906 has long been a landmark in London’s Kensington Gardens.