Dora Gordine

Javanese Head


In Tate Britain

Dora Gordine 1895–1991
Bronze on wooden base
Object: 458 × 210 × 275 mm, 11 kg
Presented by the Hon. Richard Hare 1933

Display caption

Described by the Evening Standard as ‘a girl sculpture genius’, Gordine travelled to Singapore to work on a commission for the city authorities to produce six sculpted heads representing people of different ethnic backgrounds living in the Malay Peninsula. Javanese Head was modelled there, and its form sits between artistic styles in British art of the period, as the critic Arthur Symons defined, a ‘profound sense of pure form… heedless alike of realism and of exaggerated abstraction’.

Gallery label, September 2016

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Catalogue entry

N04695 JAVANESE HEAD c. 1929–33
Inscr. ‘Dora Gordine 1/8’ on back of neck.
Bronze, 14 1/4×8 1/4×11 (36×21×28).
Presented by the Hon. Richard Hare 1933.
Coll: Purchased by the donor at the Leicester Galleries 1933.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, July 1933 (5, repr.).
Repr: R.B.S., Modern British Sculpture, n.d. (1939), pl.40.

From 1929 to 1935 the artist was engaged in decorating the Town Hall at Singapore and travelled around in the Far East, where she found many subjects for portraits. This head was modelled in Singapore and cast in Paris. Other casts belong to the Council Room of the City Hall, Singapore; Sir Richard Winstedt, London; Mrs Philip Laing, Hurstbourne, Tarrant, Hampshire; and the artist.

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


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