Saturday, 19 January 2013

Boy with a Dolphin, Grosvenor Gate, Hyde Park W2

Boy with a Dolphin cuts a curious figure, a handsome young boy wrestling a particularly grotesque denizen of the deep. It is by Alexander Munro (1825 to 1871), the sculpting member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
The model was Greville Macdonald, son of the fairy story writer George Macdonald.
A plaque near the work relates how Charles Dodgson, then merely a mathematician, came to visit Munro while Greville was sitting. Dodgson suggested that Greville would be much better off with a marble head, the clinching argument being that the hair would not require combing. Later, Dodgson sent Munro a cartoon of his friend's horrified reaction to the idea.
Dodgson became a friend of the Macdonald family, getting them to read his manuscript of the Alice stories to the children to find out if they would really appeal to young people. Macdonald was so impressed he persuaded Dodgson to lengthen the story.
Irrelevant factoid: Greville Macdonald had a brother called Ronald.


Anonymous said...

Years ago I had read an article explaining this traditional subject of sculpture.
It was explained that the boy was named "Adulla" (sp) who lived in a fishing village and became friendly with a dolphin who quickly became his best friend and pet. The local fishermen became upset when the dolphin began eating their catch and planned to murder the dolphin. Upon hearing this news, Adulla summoned the dolphin, climbed on it's back and went out to seas, never to be scene again.

Sarah - editor@ said...

The interesting fact about this sculpture most people confuse is the water flows from the nostrils of the dolphin, not the mouth.

Chris Partridge said...

Interesting...I must go and see it again in the summer when it might be on. Thanks!