Arnold Machin
St John the Baptist c.1944

Artwork details

Arnold Machin 1911–1999
St John the Baptist
Date c.1944
Medium Terracotta
Dimensions Object: 521 x 311 x 292 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1944
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1940

Display caption

Machin studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London during the Second World War and was later elected to the Royal Academy. He developed a classical style and is best known for his relief portrait of the Queen which featured on stamps and coins from 1968-84. This sculpture shows John the Baptist as a half naked boy at prayer. His delicate physique is counterbalanced by the boy’s strong and direct gaze. Machin spent much of 1944 in prison as a conscientious objector. The themes of vulnerability and spiritual salvation may have had as much personal significance for him as they did for wider society engaged in a global war.

Arnold Machin was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1911 and died near Eccleshall in 1999.

August 2004

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