Greyhounds playing
Holme Cardwell (1815-1895)

Greyhounds playing, 1847

White marble., H. 0.45 m; W. 0.76 m; D. 0.51 m

Signed and dated on the base: Holme Cardwell / Sculpt. Rome / 1847.

Provenance: Private collection, Italy.

  • Ruppert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660 – 1851, London [1951], revised edition 1968, p. 78.
  • Algernon Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts. A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their works from its foundation in 1769 to 1904, London [1905], ed. 1989, vol. 1, p. 393.
  • Ingrid Roscoe, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660-1851, New Haven and London, 2009, p. 194.

Holme Cardwell was born in Manchester and attended London’s Royal Academy Schools in 1834 on the recommendation of Sir Francis Chantrey. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1837, and would continue to do so until 1856, sending works of art back to England from abroad. In 1841 Cardwell moved to Paris and studied there under David d’Angers (1788-1856) for about three years. From Paris he moved to Rome and remained there for some time.

In 1844 a visitor to Cardwell’s studio in Rome mentioned that the artist had just arrived in the city and was engaged in a group of Greyhounds Playing which showed “a keen observation of Nature, and great power”. The article added that “he has executed but few groups, one of which, Mrs Beaumont, of Yorkshire, ordered” (Gentleman’s Magazine 1844, p. 71 cited by Ingrid Roscoe, 2009, p. 194.). Cardwell’s Greyhounds Playing was apparently crowned with considerable success. This beautiful marble sculpture is indeed expertly worked in its pyramidal composition, which makes a muddle of these two dogs in a natural and elegant way. Cardwell treated with much delicacy the different surfaces and details. By his skilful use of light and shade, this vivid depiction of young greyhounds is simply striking.