A charming bust of a child’s head by Edwin Whitney-Smith, dated 1910A charming bust of a child’s head by Edwin Whitney-Smith, dated 1910

A charming bust of a child’s head by Edwin Whitney-Smith, dated 1910

£ 4,500.00






Height 17 ½ inches base 5 inches square

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A charming bust of a child’s head by Edwin Whitney-Smith, dated 1910, the girl has her head slightly tilted forwards as she looks out from under a lock of hair, set on a square block signed on the reverse ‘E Whitney-Smith 1910’.

This bronze is a reduction of Whitney-Smith’s original marble piece, a photograph of which survives in the V&A (object number AAD/1990/12/63).  Another version can be seen in a 1920s photograph of the artist in his studio owned by the National Portrait Gallery (NPG x194201).  Neither the identity of the sitter nor title of the work is known.

Edwin Whitney-Smith (1880-1952) was one of the pre-eminent sculptors of his day.  Born in Bristol in 1880, he became a student of William Harbutt, the headmaster of Bath School of Art, best remembered today for inventing plasticine.  Whitney-Smith showed great promise from an early age, opening a studio in St John’s Wood, London, in 1910.  He exhibited over 40 pieces at the Royal Academy and despite not achieving Academician status, even with list of illustrious proposers, he became a dear friend of Sir Alfred Munnings, the famous horse painter, and sculpted his portrait.  He was, however, elected to the Royal Society of British Sculptors and his works were generally well-received by critics and the general public alike.

Aside from the RA, he exhibited in Bristol, at the Paris Salon and the Scottish Academy and his work attracted the attention of such important patrons as the Courtauld family.  One of his most famous works, The Waking Child, is in the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull and another, The Irishman, is in the Tate.  One version of his bust of Ernest Bevin, the trade unionist, stands in Tooley Street in Bermondsey to this day.  An article in The Sphere, published on the 3rd of May 1924, referred to the sculptor as “a well-known sculptor of smiling children” and mentioned his “famous babies’ heads”.

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Wick Antiques was established by Charles Wallrock in the early 1980s. Having grown up in the Antiques world Charles has developed an extensive wealth of knowledge and is extremely passionate about the antique world so please feel free to contact us with any queries or questions.

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