'RUTH AMID THE ALIEN CORN'
figure: 101cm., 39¾in. column: 96cm., 37¾in.
signed: J. ADAMS-ACTON, / FECIT and inscribed RUTH -WHEN SICK FOR HOME / SHE STOOD IN TEARS AMID THE ALIEN CORN
white marble, on a white veined marble column with revolving top (4)
Stokesay Court, Shropshire
Sold Sotheby's, 28th September 1994, lot 160
'Ruth', inscribed with a quote from Keats' Ode to a Nightingale, is a rare and important 'ideal' work by Adams-Acton whose reputation was built on his impressive portrait sculptures.
John Adams (born in Acton), began his training at the Royal Academy, moving to Rome to become a pupil of John Gibson.
Adams was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy from 1854 to 1892, changing his name in 1869 to 'John Adams-Acton' , possibly to distinguish himself from his contemporary, the painter John Adams.
Ruth, the great-grandmother of David and a Moabite, was widowed, and left her native land to go to Bethlehem, accompanied by her mother-in-law, Naomi. Here she sadly gleaned corn in the fields of Boaz, Naomi's kinsman, her quiet demeanour and purity of character impressing him when she lay at his feet as he slept in a field. He vowed to look after her and married her. Her story is told in the Old Testament Book of Ruth.