The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Public Art and Sculpture 6: Jacob Epstein - in the eye of the storm and calmer waters Lecture

Public Art and Sculpture 6:  Jacob Epstein - in the eye of the storm and calmer waters  Lecture

Thursday 24 November 2022 at 6.30 pm

The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ 

Evelyn Silber will discuss Jacob Epstein’s early public commissions for London and Paris which engendered polarised critical responses.  In the 1950s, there were numbers of public commissions which enjoyed great acclaim.

The American-born sculptor Jacob Epstein was catapulted into the public eye with his first major commission. His eighteen over life size figures for Charles Holden’s British Medical Association building unveiled in the Strand in 1908 aroused fierce controversy over the im/propriety of such work in a public site. Subsequent commissions - the Tomb of Oscar Wilde in Paris, the W H Hudson Memorial in Hyde Park  and the massive carvings of Night and Day on Holden’s award winning 55 Broadway at St James’s’ Park Station aroused equally impassioned debate over their modernism. 

After a 20-year dearth, numerous commissions during the 1950s including work for Llandaff and Coventry Cathedrals, a London convent, a war memorial for the TUC headquarters and large-scale work for other prominent London and Liverpool sites brought belated recognition and public acceptance. This talk will explore Epstein’s work and the changing relationship of sculpture and architecture.

Evelyn Silber is a former Director of Leeds Museums and Galleries and of the Hunterian, University of Glasgow.  The author of The Sculpture of Epstein with a complete catalogue (1986) and co-curated the major exhibition of Epstein’s work at Leeds and the Whitechapel (1986).

C20 Society Members: £  10  Non-members: £ 15

Includes a glass of wine

NOTE: We are working on arrangements for live streaming this lecture and will let you know when we have some news.

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The Twentieth Century Society is an IHBC (Institute of Historic Building conservation) recognised CPD provider.

The Twentieth Century Society is a registered charity, no 1110244

Above: W H Hudson Memorial Rima, London  Photograph:  Sally Norris / Art UK


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