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silla was born out of a passion for beautiful objects: special pieces with aesthetic and historical significance. In 2009, after years of collecting, Andrew Silla and his wife Grace began to work privately with clients from their residence in Southern Maryland. Quickly outgrowing the space, the business was moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 2012 and after several warehouse location changes it was firmly settled in the present brick-and-mortar location in downtown Shippensburg.

The 9000 square foot brick-and-mortar gallery is home to a large collection of works of art and estate jewelry. We specialize in sculpture circa 1860 through 1930 with a particular emphasis on the Animaliers and as such the gallery always has a very large collection of exceptional European and American sculpture available on display.

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Bust of Lady Layard (1870) | John Warrington Wood

Wood, John Warrington

Regular Price: $9,800.00
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catalog text

British, 1839-1886

Bust of a Woman, almost certainly depicting Lady Layard (1870)

Carrara marble | signed to the reverse "WARRINGTON WOOD SCULPT ROMA 1870"

Item # 405UGP17Q 

A very finely carved marble bust that almost certainly depicts Lady Layard (British, 1843-1912) at 27 years of age. While the bust is not titled, John Warrington Wood had a relationship with the family, first sculpting Lady Mary Enid Evelyn Layard's husband and cousin Henry Austin Layard the year before in London in 1869. Wood exhibited that bust at the Royal Academy in 1870 and the same year Lady Layard would have sat down with him in Rome for the completion of this bust. Interestingly, Henry Layard decided he did not like the bust that was completed of him and eventually re-commissioned Wood to complete the bust again 12 years later in 1881, that example held in the permanent collection of The National Gallery in London. The same year, John Warrington Wood executed a second bust of Lady Layard that is held in the permanent collection of the British Museum of Art (acc. no. OA.10557). It is interesting to view the painting completed by Vicente Palmaroli y González (1834–1896) that is also part of the permanent collection of the British Museum of Art (acc. no. 1980,1216.1), which captures Lady Layard the same year this portrait bust was completed. The composition of the bust is similar to Wood's modeling of Isabella

The bust is beautifully carved out of a very nice block of Carrara marble, the brilliant treatment of her hair with its exquisitely textured and chiseled strands framing her face beautifully. Her shawl falls to the edges of her shoulders. The bust is raised on a separately turned plinth and is signed on the reverse in block lettering "WARRINGTON WOOD SCULPt ROMA 1870". An exceedingly fine acquisition for serious collectors, both individuals and institutions.

John Warrington Wood was born in Warrington, Lancashire in 1839. His journey into sculpture began somewhat serendipitously when he stepped in to complete a stone design for a local bank after the original craftsman failed to appear. This opportunity led him to enroll in the Warrington School of Art, where he quickly excelled, gaining recognition with his work "Spring" in 1862.

Wood's artistic style matured during his time in Italy, where he relocated before the age of 30. Despite regular visits to England, Italy remained his primary residence throughout his career. His works frequently returned to England, with about 25 pieces exhibited at the Royal Academy up to 1884. One significant exhibition was "Eve" at South Kensington in 1871, which, though unsold, garnered enough admiration from his hometown to result in a £1,000 commission. This commission included the creation of "St. Michael Overcoming Satan" (1874/7), crafted from a substantial block of Carrara marble that was moved with great difficulty to Wood's studio.

Wood's reputation grew both in England and Italy. In Italy, his membership in the Guild of St. Luke attested to his esteemed status. Although his success in Italy and the amount of time he spent away from England prevented him from joining the Royal Academy, he was elected to the Guild of St. Luke in Rome in 1877. His success as a sculptor enabled him to ultimately acquire the Villa Campana in Rome, a grand estate once owned by the art collector Marchese Giovanni Pietro Campana.

Wood's public commissions are prominently displayed throughout England. The imposing "St. Michael Overcoming Satan" is held in the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, while other statues, such as those depicting Jephthah’s daughter and Rachel, are housed in Bath. His statues of Raphael and Michelangelo are prominently displayed flanking the entrance to the Walker Art Gallery.

Wood's portrait sculptures often feature a cool, detached expression, and his idealized female figures display classical features with long, slender necks and serene faces, embodying a sense of timeless elegance and formality.

His work can be found in the permanent collections of the major museums of the United Kingdom, including Liverpool Museum of Art, the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, The British Museum of Art, Tameside Museum and Galleries, Birmingham Museum and Art Galleries, the Glasgow Museum, the National Gallery of London, the Victoria Art Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery, the Bury Art Museum, Touchstones Rochdale, the Scottish Fisheries Museum, Manchester Town Hall, the Botanic Gardens of Glasgow, Sheffield Museums, and the Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Artist Listings & Bibliography:

  • E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. XIV, Gründ, 2006, p. 1062

Measurements: 30" H x 9" D x 18 1/2" W

Provenance: Private Collection, Villanova, Pennsylvania

Condition Report:
Staining and discoloration to the stone throughout - we have decided not to remediate any of the staining, as her surface is relatively untouched and patina fully intact. Upon request we can certainly minimize some of these areas. Under her shoulder on the right side is inscribed 3250-49, perhaps an early collector inventory reference. Light chips and losses throughout.

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