This piece is of polished bronze on a travertine marble base. This is the second cast from plaster of an edition of three; another is in the Hakone Museum in Japan. Meadows said that Lovers developed out of a smaller three-piece sculpture called Help, 1966 (City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery). Lovers, which Meadows described as 'a soft form squeezed between two harder forms, the one cubic and immobile, the other more aggressive', is suggestive of the amorphous pieces produced by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth in the 1930s, which frequently included larger forms protecting smaller ones. The punctured surface of the piece simultaneously suggests a wound, an eye, and other orifices.

As W.J. Strachan (Connoisseur, April 1974) observes, there are a number of drawings by Meadows which explore the idea of soft shapes under pressure or crushed between compact and solid forms. This is also the theme of his monumental sculpture for the Eastern Counties Newspapers building at Norwich. Strachan also notes Meadows's preoccupation with 'contrasting mat and highly polished metal', which is another feature of Lovers.

Further reading:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1988, p.530, reproduced
W.J. Strachan, 'The Sculptor and his Drawings 2. Bernard Meadows', Connoisseur, vol.185, April 1974, pp.288-93
Alan Bowness, Bernard Meadows: Sculpture and Drawings, Much Hadham and London 1995, p.145, reproduced pl.112 in colour

Terry Riggs
January 1998