ISBN: 9780853319863 • Publication: December 12, 2012
Series: British Sculptors & Sculpture
The Sculpture of Charles Wheeler
DescriptionThis is the first book to document the work of Sir Charles Wheeler PRA (1892-1974), a major figure in British figurative sculpture whose work has been unduly marginalised.
Wheeler's impressive oeuvre began with medal making in the Great War, and ranged from direct-carved and bronze gallery works and portraits to huge architectural and decorative schemes. Wheeler's sculptures for some of London's iconic landmarks, including the Bank of England, South Africa House and Trafalgar Square are now established features of the civic environment.
Architectural patronage, particularly that of Herbert Baker, was key to Wheeler's success, and led to many collaborations with high-profile figures, including Rudyard Kipling, T. E. Lawrence and Sir Edwin Lutyens. Oliver Hill, Edward Maufe and Charles Holden were among his patrons. Wheeler's numerous public memorials include the Royal Naval Memorials, the Merchant Marine Memorial and the RAF Memorial, Malta. Professional successes were matched by Wheeler's active participation and distinguished appointments within artistic organisations, culminating in his role as the first sculptor President of the Royal Academy from 1956-66.
In the 1920s and 1930s Wheeler's modernity was recognised as belonging to the 'advanced school' of figuration, yet despite this and his substantial contribution to British sculpture, Wheeler's reputation has languished. The Sculpture of Charles Wheeler features a perceptive narrative that restores Wheeler's position, setting this remarkable career in its historical context, along with a comprehensive catalogue of works. It is essential reading for all those interested in the history of modern British sculpture, architectural history and patronage, public art and civic life in the 20th century.