Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

Garden Ornament

1914

Medium
Plaster
Dimensions
Object: 635 x 216 x 222 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Hanover Gallery 1960
Reference
T00365

Display caption

In the spring of 1914 Gaudier-Brzeska received a commission to carve two stone vases or garden ornaments for the home of General Sir Ian and Lady Hamilton at 1 Hyde Park Gardens, London. This commission came through the Omega Workshops, the decorative arts and design firm founded by the artist and critic Roger Fry. However, by August 1914 Gaudier-Brzeska had left Britain to fight in the French army, so the stone vases were never carved. It is believed that this maquette, and its companion, were related to the Hamilton commission. This work is constructed from elements of two human figures who kneel and hold a large bowl with their upraised arms.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

T00365 GARDEN ORNAMENT 1914
 
Not inscribed.
Plaster on wooden base, 25×8 1/2×8 3/4 (63·5×21·5×22).
Presented by the Hanover Gallery 1960.
Coll: Estate of Sophie Brzeska; purchased by H. S. Ede; sold to the Hanover Gallery 1957.
Exh: Temple Newsam, Leeds, June–August 1943 (81); Beaux Arts Gallery, October–November 1954 (72).
Lit: Ede, 1930, p.206.

The composition appears to be based on the marble ‘Water-carrier’, formerly in the John Quinn Collection, reproduced Pound, 1916, pl.11. The figure is still further simplified and treated symmetrically. It was probably one of two garden ornaments commissioned by Lady Hamilton through the Omega Workshops to be cut in stone, but was not completed before the artist left for the Front. Three bronze casts were made by the Hanover Gallery, one of which belongs to H. S. Ede, who also owns the companion piece and has had it cast in lead.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I