Alphabet of Allegorical Sculpture

Y is for Youth sculpture

The pensive girl at the top of this page exemplifies allegorical statues of Youth - youthful indeed, but achieving a thoughtfulness, an uncertainty about the future ahead. The sculptor is Oliver Sheppard, obscure except for his figure on the front of the V&A. A rather similar one in conception is this one entitled The Long, Long Dreams of Youth. She is by Harold Parker, the Australian sculptor, and is very much his ideal type, recalling in pose the principal figure for Australia Awakens in The Strand (see this page).

The Long, Long Dreams of Youth, by Harold Parker.

Allegorical figures of Youth can be male, though less frequently than female, and the one below left, showing in his pose a degree of adolescent awkwardness, is clearly a 1930s work. A younger male figure, straining upwards for the future success to come, is shown to the right; Richard Goulden was the sculptor.

A near-contemporary of Goulden was Richard Garbe, and here is his Youth and the Shadow, with a semidraped figure being whispered to by some ambiguous figure representative of Age or Death perhaps; once again, the sense of uncertainty is seen. The second panel below is a more literal interpretation of the allegory, showing Youth being taken in hand by Knowledge - the remarkable physique is typical of the work of the sculptor Albert Hodge.

Panels by Garbe and Hodge.

Below is something rather different, a Cupid-like figure reclining, entitled The Charmed Circle of Youth. Here we have an actual child figure - which is generally not the case for allegorical figures of Youth.

The turn of the Century was especially rich for allegory, and here from 1901 is Reynolds-Stephens' panel, Youth - happy in beauty, life, love and everything. No pensiveness here, but a vibrancy and triumph of Youth.

Youth - Happy in Beauty, Life, Love and Everything

We end with a strange bust, by A. C. Lucchesi. Not a typical work by him at all, it shows a young faun or forest spirit with great curving horns amidst the falling locks of hair, clad in and crowned with leaves of ivy, again with a look of surety and youthful pleasure, but as well, a sense of yearning. A remarkable, expressive work.

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