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Darwin Correspondence Project

2.9 Legros medallion, plaster model

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This plaster model for Legros’s bronze medallion of Darwin has an interesting provenance. It originally belonged to William Ernest Henley, the poet, journal editor and art critic, who was a close friend and associate of Legros. Together they promoted the work of Rodin in Britain (especially through articles in the Magazine of Art, which Henley edited), and hosted him when he came to London in the summer of 1881. Rodin was closely involved in Legros’s decision to take up the fashioning of medallions, and after he returned to France, Henley kept him updated on their progress. He reported in a letter of November 1881 that Legros’s medallions had come out very well, especially that of Darwin. ‘It is partly to you that we owe them, and you have a right to be proud of them.’ Rodin increased the sense of obligation felt by Legros and Henley when he agreed to supervise the professional casting of the medal of Darwin in France. 

  • physical location Yale Center for British Art, New Haven 

  • accession or collection number accession number B1994.3; image number XYC258616 

  • copyright holder Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund 

  • originator of image Alphonse Legros 

  • date of creation 1881 

  • computer-readable date 1881-01-01 to 1881-12-31 

  • medium and material plaster bas-relief in the original wooden mount and frame 

  • references and bibliography Acquisition and provenance details from YCBA records kindly provided by Lars Kokkonen. Article on Henley by Ernest Mehew in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 


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