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This bust of the actress Margaret Rawlings is one of several commissioned portraits made by Dobson throughout his career. In the 1920s Dobson was regarded as an avant-garde sculptor. He was a leading member of the London Group, and his works, which were influenced by Cubism and primitive art, were praised by Roger Fry and the Bloomsbury circle of intellectuals. In the 1930s, however, his reputation as an innovatory artist declined as his work became increasingly neo-classical, and close in spirit to the overtly more traditional French sculptors, Maillol and Despiau. This portrait study has an expressive and informal quality reminiscent of the 'Mediterranean' mood of many of Maillol's nudes.

August 2004