Photographs, captions and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images for larger pictures.]
Hylas by Henry Alfred Pegram (1862-1937). Bronze. Completed 1922, and installed here in 1933. St John's Lodge Gardens, Regent's Park, London. Although Robert Sharp suggests that Pegram's "greatest successes came earlier rather than later in his career," this group is very striking — and indeed Sharp himself numbers it among his "notable 'ideal' works." It is beautifully and appropriately sited in the middle of the pool in these rather secluded gardens, easily missed by visitors to the main part of Regent's Park. Hylas was one of the Argonauts, a handsome youth loved by Hercules. He was sent to get water from a spring, but captured by the admiring water nymphs, never to be seen again (see Bullfinch 164).
Two details: The sculptor has caught the very moment of capture, as a nymph clasps the youth's legs, catching him almost off balance, and Hylas looks down over his shoulder in dismay. Pegram was often inspired by subjects associated with the water (cf. The Bather (1894), A Sea Idyll (1902), By the Waters of Babylon (1906). It seems that once he himself had only just escaped Hylas's fate, when he was saved from drowning in the sea at Sussex (see "Pegram, Henry Alfred"). Knowing this makes this particular sculpture seem all the more poignant.
Rpobert Freidus took this photograph and the three immediately below. — George P. Landow
Inscription on the base: The sculpture was presented to the nation by the Royal Academy of Arts, "through the Leighton Fund, 1933."
- Reduced sized version (1909)
- Hylas and the Nymphs (1896) by John William Waterhouse
- Making Myth Real: Hylas and the Nymphs
Bullfinch, Thomas. The Golden Age of Myth and Legend. Ware, Herts.: Wordsworth, 1993.
"Pegram, Henry Alfred." LARA. Web 16 July 2011.
St John's Lodge Gardens. London Gardens Online. Web 16 July 2011.
Sharp, Robert. "Pegram, Henry Alfred (1862-1937)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Web 16 July 2011.
Last modified 16 July 2011