Sculpture Journal

‘Young male objects’: the ideal sculpture of Kathleen Scott

Sculpture Journal (2013), 22, (2), 119–127.

Abstract

This article focuses on a major area of the sculpture of Kathleen Scott (1878-1947), her ideal or imaginative works, particularly her life-sized bronze male nudes dating from between 1920 and 1938. Two major strands run through her work, her better-known portrait sculptures and her ideal works, which were of great personal importance to her. The origins of the latter were in her small, ‘Rodinesque’ statuettes, although subsequent success with memorials to her first husband, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, encouraged her to work on a larger scale. Early examples include ideal works which doubled up as war memorials, Here Am I, Send Me and 1914-1918: These Had Most to Give. The latter was widely regarded as her ‘masterpiece’, and admired by George Bernard Shaw, Sir Joseph (later Lord) Duveen, who considered acquiring it for the Tate Gallery, and the critic of Le Temps. Kathleen Scott's career in this genre continued with The Kingdom is Within, acquired by the MP Paul Latham; the question of its ‘gay iconicity’ is mentioned in this context, as is critic Stephen Gwynn's description of Laus Deo as ‘entirely unsensuous’. Finally, the liminal qualities of Ad Astra are addressed and this final, ideal sculpture's state of neglect is considered analogous to the long art historical neglect of Kathleen Scott today. This article is based on extensive primary research in the Kennet Papers, Cambridge University Library, which include Kathleen Scott's diaries, press cuttings and correspondence

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Author details

Stocker, Mark