N04238 THE VISITATION 1926
Bronze, 65×18 1/2×18 (165×47×46).
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1927.
Coll: Purchased by the C.A.S. at the Leicester Galleries.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, June–July 1926 (7), as ‘Study’; Arts Council, Tate Gallery, September–November 1952 (24, repr. in Illustrated Supplement, pl.16); Edinburgh Festival, August–September 1961 (71, repr. pl.9); Arts Council, Tate Gallery, November–December 1961 (28).
Lit: Haskell, 1931, pp.63, 72, 184, repr. p.63; Powell, 1932, pp.117–18, repr. p.115; Epstein, 1940, p.133, repr. p.184; ibid., 1955, p.112, repr. facing p.114; John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery, 1958, p.189, repr. pl.14; Buckle, 1963, pp.145, 153, 174, 426, repr. pls. 220–2.
Repr: Studio, XCII, 1926, p.117; Black, 1942, pl.24.
Epstein stated of this work: ‘In 1926 in Epping Forest I modelled a life-size figure which I intended for a group to be called “The Visitation”. I can recall with pleasure how this figure looked in my little hut which I used as a studio. I should have liked it to stand amongst trees on a knoll overlooking Monk Wood. This figure stands with folded hands, and expresses a humility so profound as to shame the beholder who comes to my sculpture expecting rhetoric or splendour of gesture.... When I exhibited the work at the Leicester Galleries, wishing to avoid controversy, I called it “A Study”. By this disguise I succeeded for once in evading the critics, always ready to bay and snap at a work. A subscription was raised to purchase it, and I recall that Richard Wyndham gave the proceeds of an exhibition he was holding of his own work towards its purchase for the Tate Gallery.’
The model was a music student who acted as secretary to John Drinkwater: her modest demeanour struck Epstein as ideal for what he had in mind. The companion figure was never completed.
Other casts made more recently are in the following collections: Alan and Janet Wurzburger, Baltimore, U.S.A.; anonymous loan to the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; W. J. Keswick, Dumfries; at least two others in private collections in the U.S.A.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I