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Puck on a toadstool

circa 1856


Harriet Hosmer

United States of America, Italy

09 Oct 1830 – 21 Feb 1908

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Rome Italy
    circa 1856
    Media category
    Materials used
    86.3 cm height
    Signature & date

    Signed back of base, "HARRIET HOSMER...". Not dated.

    Bequest of Judge Josephson 1892
    Grand Courts
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Harriet Hosmer

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Neoclassicism produced a significant number of women sculptors, many of whom were American by birth. Among them, Harriet Hosmer enjoyed perhaps the greatest celebrity, entertaining dignitaries and connoisseurs in her Roman atelier with the practical aplomb of a 'grand master'.

    Hosmer was a pupil of (and is displayed with a work by) the Welsh sculptor John Gibson, himself a pupil of the grandest of all neoclassical sculptors, Antonio Canova. Her work was widely collected, often on the basis of an interest in her gender as much as her considerable professional merits. She adapted continental neoclassicism to a personal vision steeped into the classical philosophies of a democratic nation.

    Capable of producing work on a large scale and to specific order, she was especially proficient in the execution of public monuments. Her smaller works such as this 'Puck on a toadstool' (also known simply as 'Puck') were frequently issued in multiples to accommodate demand - and to bring in much needed funds when her father could no longer support her practice.

    Hosmer has here brought to life the mischievous sprite from Shakespeare’s 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream'. 'Puck' was a huge commercial success and Hosmer subsequently spoke of the figure as ​her 'son', not least given he brought the artist 'his weight in silver'.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 6 publications

Other works by Harriet Hosmer