Reg Butler

First Maquette for ‘The Unknown Political Prisoner’

1951–2

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
Reg Butler 1913–1981
Medium
Bronze sheet and wire on plaster base
Dimensions
Object: 459 x 210 x 210 mm
Collection
Lent by the Estate of Reg Butler 2011
On long term loan
Reference
L02989

Display caption

These are three early ideas for Butler’s submission to the international sculpture competition The Unknown Political Prisoner. Ostensibly devised as a tribute to those who surrendered their liberty for the cause of human freedom, the competition later turned out to be CIA-sponsored anti-Soviet propaganda. Butler won first prize, securing him international fame. The plan to reproduce his design on a monumental scale in West Berlin was never realised.

Gallery label, September 2016