Art Collections Online
Merlin and Arthur
JOHN, Sir William Goscombe (1860 - 1952)
Size: 61.0 cm
Acquired: 1932; Gift; Sir William Goscombe John
Accession Number: NMW A 127
The turn of the 19th century saw a revival of interest in Celtic imagery and mythology in Wales. This bronze, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1902, is John's only work on an Arthurian theme. According to medieval legend, the Welsh bard and magician Merlin aided Uther Pendragon's seduction of Yguerne, wife of the Duke of Cornwall. The child born of this liaison, the future King Arthur, was committed to Merlin's care. The pose and costume of this bronze reveal a debt to Rodin, particularly his monumental statues of the Burghers of Calais.