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Emily Young (b. 1951)
This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more
Emily Young (b. 1951)


Emily Young (b. 1951)
Clastic Onyx, unique
43½ in. (110 cm.) high
Carved in 2012.
Directly from the artist's studio.
Special Notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

Brought to you by

William Porter
William Porter Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

‘We honour, knowingly or not, nature and history each time a human works a stone’ (E. Young)

At three and half feet high Cautha is a monument of luminous golden yellow onyx. The sculpture is archetypal of Emily Young’s ability to carve serene forms from complex hardstones. Hailed as ‘Britain’s greatest living stone sculptor’ she extricates and compliments the exquisite crystalline structure of her chosen material with Grecian like faces that are imbued with a composed and timeless quality. The seams of impurities and ancient imperfections that run through her carvings are indispensable in shaping the final form and Young investigates the structure of the stone adapting these to serve her practice.

The granddaughter of Kathleen Scott, a sculptor, colleague of Auguste Rodin and widow of the explorer Captain Scott of the Antarctic, Young was born into a family of writers, artists and politicians. As a young woman, she worked primarily as a painter and studied at Central Saint Martins in 1968 before attending Chelsea School of Art. She developed a comprehensive knowledge of art from extensive travelling in her 20s and 30s. Visits to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Africa as well as Asia, Europe and the Americas bought her into contact with a variety of art and antiquities. In the early 1980s she took up carving exclusively, sourcing stone from all around the globe.

In few other artist’s works does material play such a important role. Young’s sculpture not only brings to the fore the true beauty of the raw material she works with but also recognises that it is a mass mined from the surface of the Earth. Her sculpture, in being so clearly hewn from the ground, encourages the viewer to meditate on our relationship with the natural world, as well as comprehend breaches in time and culture.

Cautha is exemplary of Young’s works in its graceful yet robust presence. The sweep of the warm onyx seams under the chin draw the eye up and around piece, emphasising the purity and complexity of the stone’s grain. The open seam of cooler greys running diagonally across the face provides an organic asymmetry whilst demonstrating that this piece of stone has endured millennia. The head emerges in pools of swirling ambers - the rippling hues revealing the luxurious patterns shaped by centuries of geological transformation.

Carved from a single huge stone the work is not only monumental but permeates an ageless quality. This is seen not only in her choice of stone but in the classical beauty of Cautha, which at times seems almost devotional. Young described that the notions of time and devotion were important to her work, she explained, ‘So my work is a kind of temple activity now, devotional; when I work a piece of stone, the mineral occlusions of the past are revealed, the layers of sediment unpeeled; I may open in one knock something that took millions of years to form: dusts settling, water dripping, forces pushing, minerals growing - material and geological revelations: the story of time on Earth shows here, sometimes startling, always beautiful’.

Young brings stone carving to the forefront of British contemporary sculpture, building on, and reinventing, the oeuvre of 20th Century giants such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Her work is held by many private and public collections, with permanent installations on show at St Paul’s Churchyard, the Imperial War Museum, Salisbury Cathedral and St James Church, Piccadilly. She has exhibited at many prestigious museums including The Getty Center, Los Angeles; The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; and The Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids.

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