Ferdinand Seeboeck (1864-1952)
Old Entrance Hall, Smirke Building, Strand
King's College, London
This contemplative, self-possessed Sappho, with her easy gracefulness, was commissioned by Frida Mond, wife of Ludwig Mond, an important figure in the history of ICI, and stood in the entrance hall of the Munds' mansion in St John's Wood, and came to King's in 1923 after Frida's death, as part of a bequest from their estate.
The bequest was at the suggestion of Sir Israel Gollancz, once one of Frida's protégés, and by this time Professor of English at King's and Secretary of the Royal Academy. The story of this bequest, "a small part of a much larger story of patronage and benefaction" (Trapp 18), reveals not only the European connections of the cultural élite of late Victorian London, but also its generosity towards artists, scholars, scientists, and their institutions. Other Mond bequests went to the National Gallery, the British Academy, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and so on.
Photograph by Jacqueline Banerjee
By courtesy King's College London.