Wheeler originally made this as a portrait of his nine-month-old son Robin in early 1920.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.