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Work of British sculptor Angela Conner goes up for auction

Culture

Work of British sculptor Angela Conner goes up for auction

Dreweatts is to offer the studio collection of the revered British sculptor Angela Conner.

The Angela Conner auction comprises over 50 works spanning her lifetime. The sale will encompass all aspects of her oeuvre, from her detailed bronze bust portraiture to monumental installation works, her painting, sketching and spell-binding kinetic sculpture. The sale titled A Life in Sculpture will be offered as part of Dreweatts Modern & Contemporary Art sale on July 11, 2024.

Francesca Whitham, Picture Specialist in the Modern and Contemporary Art department at Dreweatts:

“It is a pleasure to offer the studio collection of Angela Conner, a pioneer in the field of sculpture, whose works will always have the ability to inspire and evoke emotion and fascination.”

Amongst the bronze works is a portrait bust of the late Queen of England, Elizabeth II, commissioned by the Knights of the Garter – the world’s oldest national order of knighthood – in celebration of the Queen’s 80th birthday in 2006.

The bust was created by Angela in real-life sittings with the Queen, in the Chinese room at Buckingham Palace. John Bulmer, Angela Conner’s husband recounts that the Queen asked how many sittings it would take, to which Angela replied that she couldn’t say: “because I don’t know when I’ve finished until I have”. The Queen understood and kindly dedicated five to six sittings of two hours each to the project.

Each sitting was captured on film by the British photographer Bill Burlington (William Cavendish, Earl of Burlington b. 1969). The Queen is portrayed looking straight forward with a firm gaze, with a three-strand pearl necklace draped around her neck. Ten of the busts were made, with one sitting at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. This version is number three out of the ten and carries an estimate of £8,000-£12,000 (lot 4).

Angela’s Royal patronage also includes a bust of His Majesty King Charles III, which is also featured in the sale. It was commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire in 1995 for the Chatsworth collection and depicts the former Prince of Wales looking off into the distance. It is a delicate, yet powerful bronze sculpture of the future King.

Dated 1995 and numbered 4/10 it carries an estimate of £4,000-£6,000 (lot 3). Commenting on Angela’s portrait busts, Francesca Whitham says: “Her ability to capture a person in clay, in such precise detail, is exceptional and I believe this is driven by her ability to feel an emotional connection to her sitters and allowing this interaction to take over the physical practice of modelling.”

Other portrait busts of notable figures in the sale include a bronze of the renowned English poet laureate, writer and broadcaster, Sir John Betjeman, a bust of British author Ian Fleming famous for writing the James Bond novels and a bust of the great actor Laurence Olivier.

To browse the full range of Angela’s works on offer in the catalogue follow this link and scroll down: https://auctions.dreweatts.com/auctions/8961/drewea1-10470?term=conner

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