Catalogue entry

N05388 MANKIND 1927–8
 
Not inscribed.
Hoptonwood stone, 95×24×18 (241·5×61×48).
Presented through the generosity of Eric Kennington and a body of subscribers, with the assistance of the Knapping Fund 1938.
Coll: Purchased by Eric Kennington at the Goupil Gallery 1928. Offered at a nominal price to Whipsnade Zoo in 1938, but rejected by the Council of the Zoological Society of London; the subscriptions which had been received were transferred to the Tate Gallery.
Exh: Goupil Gallery, March 1928 (1); British Council, Contemporary British Art, New York World's Fair, 1939 (3).
Lit: G. R. R[eitlinger], ‘London Exhibitions’ in Drawing & Design, IV, 1928, p.115, repr. p.114; Thorp, 1929, pp.9, 18, repr. pls.29 and 30; Kineton Parkes, The Art of Carved Sculpture, 1, 1931, p.21; Letters, 1947, pp.228, 237.
Repr: Stanley Casson, Some Modern Sculptors, 1928, fig.32; exh. cat., Open Air Exhibition of Sculpture, Battersea Park, May–September 1948; Sir John Rothenstein, British Art since 1900, 1962, pl.35.

In a letter to the Reverend Desmond Chute, 25 March 1928, the artist wrote: ‘For the big figure I carved in that big lump of Hoptonwood which I had and never used at Ditchling I'm getting £800 ... Eric Kennington is buying it’ (Letters, 1947, p.228).

In a further letter of 8 October 1928 he describes his purchase of Pigotts, ‘A magnificent place it is, and all for £1750, including 1 acre of orchard and 16 acres grass. (Note by selling the statue “Mankind” I was able to put down £500 & borrow the remainder from Bank.)’ (Letters, 1947, p.237.)

While in Kennington's possession the figure had been exhibited out of doors for many years in a garden belonging to Lady Harris and had lost its original polish. It was repolished in 1957 by Joseph Cribb, who had worked with Gill.

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