An Alphabet of Allegorical Sculpture - R is for Reverie

Statue of Reverie.

Allegorical statues of Reverie are not so common, but I have come across a few. A reverie, of course, is a dream, but a dream which is usually pleasant, so that our statues of Reverie should be lighter hearted than, say, those emblematic of Meditation. The allegorical statuette of Reverie at the top of this page well illustrates the concept. She is sitting, elbow on knee, lost in her dream, perhaps not too comfortably poised but unaware of anything except her inner thoughts. She looks a little troubled, perhaps, knowing her dream cannot come to pass. Here, maybe, we have some romance which seems beyond her reach, or perhaps simply absence of the loved one. The harmonious folds of her long dress give a sense of peace and abstract thought.

Reverie by Gilbert Ledward.

The bust of Reverie by Gilbert Ledward shows by the pose of the girl’s head, turned to one side and looking downwards, that her gaze is turned inwards to her thoughts rather than outwards to the world, and in this way is similar to the previous statue. And again, the lightly-indicated folds of her garment suggest peace. But she seems no more light-hearted though.

C. L. Hartwell's statue of Reverie.

Another 20th Century example of a statue called Reverie, by the always interesting sculptor C. L. Hartwell. Here we have a knight holding his helmet in his gauntleted hands. He is not really looking at the helmet, but its sight and touch clearly evokes some memory, and hence the reverie. Our knight is of mature years, and perhaps he remembers a great deed of heroism he did as a younger man.

Finally, the nude Reverie below. As ever, the glance is inwards, not outwards to reality. The girl appears to have been walking, and has halted, perhaps at the edge of some pool, for she is paused looking downwards, as if catching a glimpse of her own reflection which conjures some stray thought and causes her unconsciously to come to a stop. The attitude of her hand is well-caught – how often have we seen someone arrested in motion make exactly that gesture?. The nude figure illustrates one further point – that for allegorical figures of Reverie, there are no special tools or items to be carried or other accoutrements – the whole of the allegory must derive from the mood of the figure herself.

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