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    Sale 5391

    20th Century British Art including Works from the Collection of Bannon & Barnabas McHenry

    17 December 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 129

    Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)

    Small Eagle

    Price Realised  


    Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)
    Small Eagle
    signed and numbered 'Frink 3/6' (on the base)
    bronze with a dark brown patina
    12 in. (30.4 cm.) high
    Conceived in 1969.

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    In 1952, as a student, Frink had won early acclaim and success by selling a sculpture to the Tate. Bird was the first of Frink's sculptural explorations of birds of prey, a theme which proved to be a fertile area of exploration for Frink throughout her career. The sculptor had experienced a wartime childhood and from her Suffolk home she had seen numerous military and airforce personnel. From the Tate Bird onwards, Frink's birds took on more overt references to military aggression. She was expressing the bird as a 'fighter'. Whilst the Tate Bird is impossible to identify by species, Frink soon created an identifiable bird - the eagle.
    In 1965 Frink began to portray her birds perched on narrow pillars. This higher vantage point afforded them a clearer view and, like a pilot and his fighter plane, the bird is poised to strike. Frink was not the only Post-War British sculptor fascinated by the theme of flight. The art schools of the time were filled with servicemen returning to study. Most of the sculptors (such as Lynn Chadwick) who had been chosen to represent Britain at the 1952 Venice Biennale had served as pilots in the War. Their work reflected wartime experinces through a fascination with flight, flying machines and winged creatures.

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    B. Robertson, Elisabeth Frink Sculpture Catalogue Raisonné, Salisbury, 1984, p. 177, no. 187, another cast illustrated.