JULIUS HEINRICH HAEHNEL (1823-1909)
A WILD BOAR
- Haehnel,fc. 1880
Sir William Withey Gull (1816-1890), thence by descent.
Height: 17 ½” (44cm); Width: 29” (74cm); Depth: 9” (23cm).
This dynamically modelled and finely cast sculpture was created by Julius Heinrich Haehnel (or Hahnel) (1823-1909), who taught at the School of Applied Arts in Dresden. He is perhaps most well-known for producing nine bronze animal sculptures during the 1870s for Dresden’s Museum of Fine Arts and a series of other ‘animalier’ subjects in plaster now in Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden (figs 1-3). Two of his bronzes in this genre are also included in the esteemed collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum: Ostrich with a Lizard (n.312-1889) (fig.4a & b) and a Monkey swatting a Fly (n.315-1889).
The present bronze was previously part of the collection of Sir William Withey Gull, a baronet and a court physician of the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria. One of the outstanding clinicians of 19th century Europe, Gull undertook pioneering research on the condition he termed ‘anorexia nervosa’ and conducted studies on the spinal cord and helped to expand the state of neurological knowledge on disorders such as paraplegia. In 1838 he entered the University of London and quickly climbed the academic ladder, becoming the Fullerian Professor of Physiology there and receiving PhD degrees in civil law from Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities. In his career as a court physician, he cured the Prince of Wales of typhoid fever in 1871, saving his life. As a token of gratitude, the Prince awarded Gull with a Baronetcy.
The massive scale and brilliant execution of this work point to it being a unique chef - d’oeuvre and possibly acquired directly from the artist by Sir William Gull.