Sleeping Child

Mary Thornycroft (1809-1895)

Exhibited 1836

White marble on a black marble plinth

Source: Sotheby's, by kind permission

Thought to be the work identified as A Sleeping Infant, shown at the Royal Academy in 1836, when the sculptor was twenty-one, and still Mary Francis. She had first exhibited there the year before, and continued to exhibit until 1877. She married Thomas Thornycroft in 1840, and all four of their children followed in their parents' footsteps; the best-known among them, their only son Hamo Thornycroft, was born in 1850. The climbing ivy and the little lizard at the base of the forked trunk make the scene so authentically rural, and remove the common connotation of childhood sleep with mortality.

Scanned image, text transcription and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee.

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