- Object: 492 x 165 x 213 mm
- Presented by Lady Cunard 1921
N03601 Sir Thomas Beecham, Bt.
Inscribed 'MEŠTROVIĆ | MCMXV' on base, r.
Bronze, 19 3/8 x 6 1/2 x 8 3/8 (49.2 x 16.5 x 21.2)
Presented by Lady Cunard 1921
Prov: Lady Cunard, London (purchased from the artist)
Exh: International Society, Grosvenor Gallery, London, October-November 1915 (218 A); Jugoslav Sculpture and Painting, Tate Gallery, April-May 1930 (21); Jugoslav Paintings and Sculpture, Manchester City Art Gallery, May-June 1931 (49); Yugoslavia, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, January-February 1943 (64); Glasgow School of Art, February-March 1943 (no catalogue traced); Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, April 1943 (376); Kendal Milne and Co., Manchester, May 1943 (no catalogue traced); Castle Museum, Norwich, June-July 1943 (376); Mortimer Museum Galleries, Hull, July-August 1943 (376); Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, August-September 1943 (no catalogue traced); Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, October-December 1943 (56); Yugoslav Exhibition, RA, London, January-February 1944 (47); Music in Painting, Royal Festival Hall, London, May-June 1955 (no catalogue); RSA, Edinburgh, April-September 1962 (47)
Lit: Sir John Lavery, M. Ćurčin and others, Ivan Meštrović: A Monograph (London 1919), No.217, p.65
Repr: Dusko Kečkemet, Ivan Meštrović (New York, London, Toronto, Sydney 1970), between pp.123 and 124
Sir Thomas Beecham, Bt. (1879-1961), the famous orchestral conductor and operatic impresario.
According to the artist, this bust was executed in London and was commissioned and paid for by the donor, Lady Cunard, the society hostess and patron of the arts, who also commissioned a bust of herself. Lady Cunard first met Beecham in 1911, the year in which he was instrumental in bringing Diaghilev's Russian Ballet to England, and in the following years became an intimate friend and a vigorous supporter of his efforts to establish English opera.
Vesna Barbić, the Curator of the Atelier Meštrović
at Zagreb, writes that the bronze was cast at the Cantoni Foundry in London, and that there are undated letters from Lady Cunard and Beecham in Meštrović's files in which they expressed their warm enthusiasm for this work. Beecham told the sculptor (in French): 'It is quite impossible for me to express in a letter all my admiration for this magnificent masterpiece and my appreciation for your great genius'. As far as is known, this is the only bronze cast; the plaster seems to have been lost or destroyed.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.511, reproduced p.511