Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

Major R.H. Raymond Smythies

1912

Medium
Plaster
Dimensions
Object: 445 x 229 x 235 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1969
Reference
T01160

Display caption

Major Raymond Smythies (1860-1939) was a commissioned officer in the Prince of Wales's Volunteers. He retired from the Army in 1903. His friend Haldane Macfall, another retired Army officer, sat to Gaudier-Brzeska for a portrait bust early in 1912, and Macfall must have introduced Major Raymond Smythies to the sculptor. Major Raymond Smythies was pleased with the portrait head and paid ¿12 to have it cast into bronze. He gave his bronze cast to Manchester City Art Gallery in 1922. This is the original plaster version, which remained in the sculptor's possession, and then on his death in 1915 passed to Sophie Brzeska, his companion.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

T01160 MAJOR R. H. RAYMOND SMYTHIES 1912
Inscribed on back ‘H. Gaudier-Brzeska’.

Plaster, 17½×9×9¼ (44.5×23×23.5).
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1969.

Coll: Purchased in 1930 from the intestate estate of the late Miss Sophie Brzeska through the Treasury Solicitor by C Frank Stoop, who presented it to the C.A.S. the same year.
Lit: H S Ede, A Life of Gaudier-Brzeska, 1930, pp. 91–2, repr. pl. 16.

A portrait head of Major Raymond Smythies, late of the Prince of Wales's Volunteers. When offering a bronze cast of this work to the National Art-collections Fund in 1923 (subsequently presented to the Manchester City Art Gallery), Major Smythies confirmed that he commissioned this bust from Gaudier-Brzeska. At his request, the bronze was shown in the Gaudier-Brzeska Memorial Exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in 1918 under the title ‘Head of a Military Officer’.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1968-70, London 1970

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