Born in Vienna, Soukop studied at the Academy of Fine Art there from 1928-34. In 1934 he left Austria and came to Britain, living and working at Dartington Hall, near Totnes, from 1934-40. His first one-man show was at the Stafford Gallery, London, in 1938. He exhibited his sculpture widely and regularly sent work to the Royal Academy Summer exhibitions. He wrote that the block of stone from which 'Owl' was carved had been standing in his studio for years and came from a disused quarry at St Austell, Cornwall. The carving was carried out over a period of two years and began as a doodle, suggested in part by the presence of a resident owl in Soukop's north London garden.