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Skeaping studied at three art schools in London and won the British School at Rome Prize for sculpture in 1924. He then lived and worked for a while in Italy, where he met the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, who had been runner-up for the Rome Prize. They were married in Florence. Skeaping first exhibited his work in company with Hepworth at the Reid and Lefevre Gallery in Glasgow in 1928. In that exhibition he showed the head of a Burmese Girl carved in white marble, and it may be that this figure depicts the same model. However, the work also indicates that Skeaping was interested in the formal characteristics of non-western models.