A wonderful late 19th Century English Animalier bronze study of a huntsman riding his steed with fabulous rich brown and golden patina and excellent hand chased surface detail, raised on a naturalistic oval base, signed J Willis Good and dated 1874
Height: 28 cm
Width: 29 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition
John Willis-Good, British 1845 ~ 1879 - Considering that the British have long been regarded as a nation of animal-lovers it is somewhat surprising that comparatively little Animalier sculpture was produced in the United Kingdom. There was a demand for the new sculpture movement that had become very substantial and a highly lucrative trade that was established with the import of French bronzes into Britain. spite this there are a few examples of British Animalier sculptors who were at work in the 19th Century. Outstanding among them is the charismatic figure of John Willis Good who exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1870 and 1878. Little is known about him except that he specialised in bronze and terracotta statuettes of race-horses, hunters and dogs. During the nine year period in which he exhibited at the Royal Academy he showed some sixteen statuettes of race-horses and jockeys.
In the Paris Salon of 1831 when Antoine Louis Barye exhibited his first animal sculpture, one zealous French art critic dubbed him an Animalier: maker of animals, the species deprived of human nobility. This was intended as a criticism and not a flattering title. This perception changed in the 1830’s when the new monarch, King Louis-Philippe gave several public commissions to Barye. The King’s son, the Duc d’Orleans, also became Barye’s patron and by the middle of the 19th Century, any artist was proud to be known as an Animalier.
Although many earlier examples can be found, animalier sculpture became more popular, and reputable, in early 19th century Paris with the works of Antoine-Louis Barye (1795–1875) for whom the term was coined and who became the ‘Father of the Animaliers School’ and Pierre Jules Mêne considered the finest realist sculptor of the era. By the mid-century, a taste for animal subjects was very widespread among all sections of society.