FRANK DOBSON, R.A. (1886-1963)
FRANK DOBSON, R.A. (1886-1963)
FRANK DOBSON, R.A. (1886-1963)
FRANK DOBSON, R.A. (1886-1963)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
FRANK DOBSON, R.A. (1886-1963)

Tallulah Bankhead

FRANK DOBSON, R.A. (1886-1963)
Tallulah Bankhead
signed 'F Dobson' (lower torso)
bronze with a green and brown patina, on a wooden base
27 ½ in. (69.8 cm.) high, including base
Conceived in 1924-1925.
A gift from Tallulah Bankhead to the present owner's late husband in 1958, and by descent.
N. Jason and L. Thompson-Pharoah, The Sculpture of Frank Dobson, Much Hadham, 1994, pp. 56-57, 128, no. 39, plaster version illustrated.
London, Leicester Galleries, Sculpture and Drawings by Frank Dobson, March - April 1927, no. 5.
Venice, XVI Venice Biennale, 1928, no. 39.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot will be removed to our storage facility at Momart. 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 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 Momart. All collections from Momart will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: 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. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Alice Murray
Alice Murray Co-Head of Day Sale

Lot Essay

“Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it”
- Tallulah Bankhead

This sculpture depicts Tallulah Bankhead, the American actress who took London’s stages by storm during the Roaring Twenties. After arriving in London in 1922 at just the age of 20, Bankhead, with her alluring stage presence, outspokenness, and outrageous party behaviour, swiftly became a firm favourite among British audiences. Her quick wit and desire to shock made the young starlet immensely popular with the press in London, as well as an exciting model for sculptor Dobson. During her 8 years in the city, she appeared in over a dozen plays and toured the theatres of Great Britain. When not on stage dazzling audiences, the stubborn Bankhead could often be spotted driving her beloved Bentley through the streets of London, obstinate that she must always drive herself, despite her terrible sense of direction. To make sure she didn’t get lost she would simply hire a taxi to drive everywhere in front of her. In her memoir, Tallulah: My Autobiography, Bankhead, who reportedly smoked 120 cigarettes a day, fondly recalls her time sitting for Dobson in the early 1920s, and in particular her encounter with famed archaeologist and writer T.E. Lawrence. She writes that at that time 'Lawrence was experiencing his first artistic fever. He haunted Dobson's studio. When [she] ran out of "gaspers", he'd chug off on his motorcycle to get [her] cigarettes’ (T. Bankhead, Tallulah: My Autobiography, Mississippi, 1952, quoted in N. Jason and L. Thompson-Pharoah, The Sculpture of Frank Dobson, Much Hadham, 1994, pg. 56).

The edition of the present work is thought to have extended to up to 2 casts, but the present sculpture is the only traced example.

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