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'Woman', with its insect-like abdomen and its spiky, rather threatening presence, is typical of Butler's work in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1958 Butler wrote that his earliest linear open-work iron sculptures, such as this figure, were made in response to the 'enigmatical man-made objects' which sprang up around the coast of Britain during World War II. These included the radio and towers of Bawdsley in Suffolk, which the artist referred to as the 'Bawdsley personages ... with little that was benign in their personalities, remote inscrutible custodians of a landscape hostile to man'. The Tate also has a smaller study for this sculpture.

September 2004