Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)
Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)


Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)
signed and numbered '10/ Frink'; and stamped with the foundry mark 'Morris/Singer/FOUNDERS/LONDON' (on the right hind leg)
bronze with a dark brown patina
11 ½ in. (29.2 cm.) high
Conceived in 1992 and cast in the artist's lifetime.
Great Ormond Street Limited, where acquired on 3 August 1993, and by descent.
Art Review, London, June 1993, p. 59, as 'Childhood', another cast illustrated.
E. Lucie-Smith, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture since 1984 and Drawings, London, 1994, pp. 20, 191, no. SC73, another cast illustrated.
A. Downing, exhibition catalogue, Elisabeth Frink sculptures, graphic works, textiles, in accordance with Elisabeth Frink: a certain unexpectedness, Salisbury, Salisbury Cathedral Close, 1997, pp. 44, 71, no. 90, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture and Drawings 1966-1993, London, Lumley Cazalet, 1997, n.p., no. 15, as 'Dog (Childhood)', another cast illustrated.
A. Ratuszniak (ed.), Elisabeth Frink, Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture 1947-93, London, 2013, pp. 188-189, no. FCR401, another cast illustrated.
Salisbury, Salisbury Cathedral Close, Elisabeth Frink: a certain unexpectedness, May - June 1997, no. 90, another cast exhibited.
London, Lumley Cazalet, Elisabeth Frink: Sculpture and Drawings 1966-1993, June - July 1997, no. 15, as 'Dog (Childhood)', another cast exhibited.
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.

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Albany Bell
Albany Bell

Lot Essay

The present work was commissioned by The Morris Singer Foundry, Basingstoke, to be sold in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London.

Throughout her practice, Frink was preoccupied by the relationship between humanity and nature, and animals were a subject to which she returned frequently. She was particularly concerned with the close relationship and interdependence between humans and domestic animals, and having grown up in the rural Suffolk, had seen firsthand this close bond. Over her career, she produced numerous renderings of both horses and dogs, animals which fascinated her ‘because they’ve been man’s best friend for thousands of years’, and Frink began to explore in depth the nature of an inter-specie relationship which has been depicted in art for centuries (E. Frink, quoted in A. Ratuszniak, Elisabeth Frink, Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture 1947-93, Farnham, 2013, p. 4).

In the final decade of her career, it was dogs that held a particularly important place in Frink’s practice, reflecting perhaps her own life surrounded by animals at Woolland house, nestled in the countryside of Dorset. There her husband, Alex Csáky kept Hungarian gun dogs named Vizslas, golden-red athletic dogs, which undoubtedly provided inspiration for her works. With their rich colour and elegant musculature, these animals were ideal for translation into bronze. Frink carefully observed the behaviour of these hounds, and their expressive potential.

Dog is naturalistic, yet not over-stylised, with Frink focusing on the character and essence of a dog rather than anatomical accuracy. Her sympathetic rendering of the dog shows her affection for the subject, yet refrains from being over-sentimental. The sculpture has an elegant simplicity, as Frink subtly captures the essence of the archetypal loyal dog. With the artist utilising the textured surface of the bronze to give the work a heightened tactility. The essence of touch was essential to Frink, who explained, ‘reality is the way something feels rather than how it looks’. The piece has a physical sense of weightiness, as the hound sits on hind legs, resting firmly on its over-large paws; its owners reliable companion.

The piece is in fact closely related to another earlier series, Leonardo’s Dog, sculpted by Frink in 1990. This was inspired by a visit she made to Leonardo da Vinci’s final residence, Château de Cloux in Amboise, France, where the doors are guarded by large stone sitting dogs, which seem to still be waiting expectantly for their absent master. Here, gazing upwards with soft wide eyes, Frink’s Dog does the same.

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