Sir Charles Wheeler

The Infant Christ

1920–4

Medium
Bronze on wooden base
Dimensions
Object: 343 x 216 x 133 mm, 6 kg
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1924
Reference
N03959

Display caption

Wheeler originally made this as a portrait of his nine-month-old son Robin in early 1920. When it was shown at the Royal Academy four years later he added the halo, transforming it from a naturalistic study into a religious subject. Christ’s down-turned eyes seem lost in thought, as if ruminating on the hard road he must follow. Wheeler, who was President of the Royal Academy from 1956 to 1966, was best known for his monumental public sculptures, including figures on the façade of the Bank of England, and the Jellicoe Memorial Fountain in Trafalgar Square.

Charles Wheeler was born in 1892 in Codsall, Staffordshire. He died in Mayfield, Sussex in 1974.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N03959 THE INFANT CHRIST 1920–4

Not inscribed.
Bronze, 13 1/2×8 1/4×5 1/4 (34×21×13).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1924.
Exh: R.A., 1924 (1504).

Executed as a portrait of the artist's nine-month-old son, Robin, early in 1920. First exhibited with a halo as ‘The Infant Christ’ at the Royal Academy in 1924. Another, contemporary, bronze cast of this work belongs to the artist.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II