Eric Gill A.R.A. (British, 1882-1940) Girl with a Comb in her Hair 41.5 cm. (16 3/8 in.) high Carved in 1928 (Unique)

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 61
Eric Gill A.R.A.
(British, 1882-1940)
Girl with a Comb in her Hair 41.5 cm. (16 3/8 in.) high Carved in 1928

Sold for £ 262,562 (US$ 343,307) inc. premium
Eric Gill A.R.A. (British, 1882-1940)
Girl with a Comb in her Hair
Caen stone
41.5 cm. (16 3/8 in.) high
Carved in 1928
Unique

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    The Artist
    Gifted by the grandfather of the present owner to his son, Desmond Flower, on the occasion of his 21st birthday in 1928
    Thence by family descent
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Literature
    Robert Speaight, The Life of Eric Gill, Methuen & Co Ltd., London, 1966, p.231

    Girl with a Comb in her Hair was a commission from Desmond Flower's father, Sir Walter Newman Flower, for Desmond's 21st birthday on 25 August 1928. Sir Walter was probably the greatest book publisher in England, who transformed the fortunes of the London publishing house Cassell and Co., joining it in 1906 and becoming its proprietor in 1927. He knew Gill, and at this time was preparing to publish Gill's first volume of essays, entitled Art Nonsense. Desmond Flower was also aware of Gill's work, not only through his father but through Douglas Cleverdon, a bookseller friend in Bristol. Owning some of Gill's illustrated books which he had bought from Cleverdon, Desmond asked his father for a sculpture by Gill as his birthday present, and Girl with a Comb in her Hair was the result.

    It is listed as Job 1050 in Gill's workbook, and is made from Caen stone. During February and March 1928 Gill had carved two stone sculptures of female figures, Headdress and Susan, in which he gave prominence to their abundant flowing hair. He continued this theme in Girl with a Comb in her Hair, which he executed in five days in August 1928. Gill carved this striking sculpture in his workshop at Capel-y-ffin, a remote hamlet in the Black Mountains in Wales. His workshop was a small space, and may have played a part in determining the inventive twisted pose of this half-length figure.

    It is likely that Sir Walter left Gill to choose the subject matter for the sculpture, and it is not surprising that Gill settled on an example of the nude woman with luxuriant hair theme that was occupying him during most of 1928. However, the pose of the figure is unusual, with one hand positioned in her wavy hair, drawing attention to the decorative comb that sits atop, like a small tiara. The open palm of other hand rests as though ready to receive something, or to greet someone.

    The nude figure Headdress that preceded Girl with a Comb in her Hair was bought by the architect friend of Gill, Sir Edward Maufe, who had a turntable made for the sculpture so that he could vary her orientation and view the figure from several different angles. Girl with a Comb in her Hair requires the viewer to walk all around her, in order to appreciate the rich complexity of the composition. Her pose is both compressed and expansive, with head, arms and torso angled in different directions, creating their own kind of contrapposto.

    When Desmond Flower received the sculpture from his father, he was studying at Kings College, Cambridge. He then followed his father into the publishing business, beginning work at La Belle Sauvage, the old coaching inn that served as Cassells premises in Ludgate Hill, London, on 1 January 1930. He met with Gill on 2 February 1930, and had to tell him that his beautiful sculpture had been slightly damaged on the edge of the comb when his possessions were moved from his Cambridge lodgings. Desmond Flower remembered that Gill told him to bring the piece to his studio at High Wycombe, where Gill effected a minor repair, 'so began my friendship with that great artist.'

    We are grateful to Dr. Judith Collins for compiling this catalogue entry.
Contacts
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £2,500 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
and 13.9% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £3,000,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.