A Large Pair of Late Victorian Lead Sculptures of Peacocks c.1900

Origin: English
Period: Late Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900
Width: 19” & 19.75”
Height: 24” & 23.5”
Depth: 10”
The Bases: 8.5”
(all at extremities)

The large and attractive solid lead sculpted figures of a pair of mature English peacocks or common peafowl, freestanding with their distinctive plumage and inquisitive necks, on tripartite bases, the feathers being separate entities and slotting into the bodies, each showing a very good patination to the lead, and surviving from the early part of twentieth century England.

The figures are in stable overall order and appear to be unsigned. There is a nice patination with some discolouration and established wear commensurate with being stood part sheltered outside for a number of years and they prove tactile as a result. There are old repairs to both necks and feet, and later strut braces added to the front sections for stability. They are heavy and would need a sturdy base for placement.

By the 19th century, peacocks served mainly as fashionable lawn ornaments at fine country houses.  St. John refers to them as “the royal section of the feathered race.”  While the 1844 book of Zoological Sketches calls the peacock “more ornamental than useful,” stating: “…his form is so elegant, and his plumage so fine, that he is generally kept with great care in the grounds of his owners in the country, for the sake of his beauty; and there he may often be seen, walking with firm and slow steps along the gravel walks, or perched upon some parapet, or on the branch of a lofty tree, while he holds up his head and spreads his richly-coloured train, as if waiting to be admired.”

Alas, this pair won’t strut, but they certainly will be admired.