Frank Dobson(London, 1888 - 1963)
Study for Leisure II
- With Hamet Gallery Ltd, London
Dobson was active as sculptor, painter and designer. His few surviving paintings from before 1914 show the influence of French painters such as Paul Cézanne and he had begun to carve by 1914. In 1920 he was selected by Wyndham Lewis as the only sculptor in the ‘Group X' exhibition. His first post-war carvings exhibit an aggressive angularity, which suggests a conscious intention to adopt the Vorticist style of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Jacob Epstein. This was a short-lived phase, and from the mid-1920s Dobson was to concentrate on the naked female figure treated in a calm, simplified monumental fashion that shows an affinity with the work of Aristide Maillol.
The present work is one of a small number of drawings and maquettes made in preparation for a major sculpture by Dobson that became known as London Pride, though it was known in earlier stages of its production as Leisure. London Pride was a major feature of the Festival of Britain in 1951 and was subsequently bequeathed to the nation by the artist’s widow. Though it was a plaster version of this large-scale sculpture that was on display for the duration of the festival, the piece was subsequently cast in bronze and is today situated outside the National Theatre on the South Bank.
There are a number of works related to this significant piece in Dobson’s oeuvre. A small scale terracotta maquette of the piece was acquired by the Arts Council in 1954 and a drawing of the two female nudes seen from a different angle and also executed in pastel is held in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.1 One further drawing of the figure group appeared on the art market in 1985.