Hubert Dalwood

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hubert Cyril Dalwood (2 June 1924 - 2 November 1976) a leading post-war British sculptor.


Hubert Dalwood (known as Nibs) was born in Bristol, England, and was described by the art critic Norbert Lynton as "one of the most original and inventive minds in the field of modern sculpture".[1][2]

He was born on 2 June 1924 in Bristol. He became an apprentice engineer with the Bristol Aeroplane Company (1940–4), leaving to join the Royal Navy as an engineer (1944–6). On leaving the navy, he studied art at the Bath Academy of Art, at Corsham, under Kenneth Armitage, until 1949.

In that year he started his long-term relationship with Gimpel Fils in London, with his first involvement in a group exhibition. His first one-man exhibition was held there in 1954.[3]

In 1951 he won an Italian Government Scholarship and worked in a bronze foundry in Milan where he met the sculptor Marino Marini. On returning to England, he taught at Newport School of Art (1951–5). He was awarded a Gregory Fellowship in Sculpture at the University of Leeds (1955–59), following on from Kenneth Armitage. Between 1956 and 1964 he taught at a number of Colleges of Art, including Leeds, Royal, Hornsey and Maidstone. In 1959 he was commissioned to make three large columns for Liverpool University.[4] In the same year he was awarded First Prize for Sculpture in the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition, with his work 'Large Object’ and, three years later, in 1962, the David E. Bright Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale.

In 1956 he was a founder member of the 56 Group (later renamed 56 Group Wales). He left the group in 1970.[5]

In 1964 his growing status won him a Professorship to the University of Illinois.

He progressed to become Head of the Sculpture Department at Hornsey College of Art, in 1966, where he stayed until 1973. He won a Churchill Scholarship in 1972, allowing him to visit India and the Far East, to further his studies of gardens and landscapes. His final move was to take him to the Central School of Art, where he was appointed Head of the Sculpture Department.

He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy of Arts on 30 April 1976.

On 2 November 1976, after a short illness, Dalwood died aged 52 in London. William Packer, the critic, and also a friend, called him "one of the best artists of his generation, a man who could have civilised and enlivened our cities and fired our imaginations."


Dalwood's primarily abstract sculptures of the 1950s and early 1960s often evoked the feeling of ritualistic objects or artefacts: as Herbert Read wrote at the time, 'the modern artist, such as Hubert Dalwood, seems determined to lead us back to the hidden sources of awe and wonder'.[6]

Like many sculptors, Dalwood’s early works were based on figures, especially the female form. But from the mid-1950s he adopted an abstract imagery moving away from any semblance to the human form, creating a series of what he called ‘mysterious’ objects. Their heavily worked and textured skins recall those of archaeological artefacts, excavated from the earth, as well as the craggy terrains of natural landscapes.

He worked in clay and plaster, revealing a fascination with the qualities of the surface, leaving tell-tale finger prints and marks, casting pieces in bronze or aluminium.

In the mid 1950s, Henry Moore began to acquire works by younger British sculptors, amongst them Hubert Dalwood’s Tree[7] Dalwood’s works directly evoked the landscape, but did so in ways that also suggested the human form. As viewers look for the outlines and forms of a tree in this sculpture, they can also see facial profiles with eyes, nose and mouth in the sculpture’s crudely gridded sides. Tree was, and still is, a strange and enigmatic sculpture, and it is not difficult to see why it caught the eye and mind of Henry Moore.

Tree also stands as a bold early statement of interest in the complex relationship between sculpture, landscape and the imagination – a central strand to his work that would continue throughout his career.

His three years in Leeds, between 1955 and 1958, were highly influential, bringing him into close contact with painters such as Alan Davie, Terry Frost and Harry Thubron. Connections between their paintings and his sculptures of the time have often been remarked upon by critics, and Tree is often cited within this context. Yet Dalwood’s Tree also stands as a bold early statement of interest in the complex relationship between sculpture, landscape and the imagination – a central strand to his work that would continue throughout his career.

A Single Tree developed into a variety of more complex object environments and from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, his catalogue of works abounds with ‘places’, ‘countries’, ‘gardens’, ‘slopes’ and ‘landscapes’. Many of Dalwood’s earlier sculptures, such as Icon (1958)[8] and Throne (1960), come with their own integrated, inbuilt bases and in some, such as the Bonzai Gardens and Landscapes of the mid 1970s, the bases expand horizontally to become the main part of the sculptures themselves. These works underline how the close, interconnected relationship between an object and the ground was central to Dalwood’s thinking not only about sculpture, but also about culture and nature generally. Things double up in his work: objects stand as environments and both ‘architectural objects’ and ‘landscape objects’ have a shared and organically grounded aspect to them.

Dalwood had a fondness for the craggy landscapes of Cornwall and Yorkshire, including Brimham Rocks. Such landscapes evoked modern art as much as pre-history, as Dalwood knew. Many of the all-important surfaces of Dalwood’s bronze and plaster sculptures deliberately recall the weathered, rough surfaces of rocks. However, he also produced shiny aluminium surfaces. From the mid 1960s, following a period spent teaching in North America, Dalwood became increasingly interested in architecture and its relationship to landscape. He started to create monumental architectural forms out of polished aluminium and sheet metal, which reflect their surroundings; and imagined, magical environments – vast landscapes on a small scale – which can be understood in their entirety when seen from above.

He was commissioned to make works for various public projects and universities in Britain, and many of his works were cast in his favoured material, aluminium. One of his works can be seen at Bodington Hall, one of the student residencies at the University of Leeds. (1961)[9]


Damos by Hubert Dalwood, The Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield.

The following are some of his works that can be seen on the internet:

  • Standing Draped Figure 1954[10]
  • Lucca 1958[11]
  • Large Object 1959[12]
  • O.A.S. Assassins 1962[13]
  • Maquette for 'Arbor' 1971[14]


  • The Sculpture of Hubert Dalwood by Chris Stephens (1999) published: The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries ISBN 0-85331-786-0.


  1. ^ "Hubert Dalwood  (1924 - 1976)". Fine Art. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  2. ^ Norbert Lynton, Hubert Dalwood: Sculptures and Reliefs (London: Arts Council, 1979).
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Three Uprights, Liverpool University". 2007-05-06. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  5. ^ Moore, David (2012). A Taste of the Avant-Garde - 56 Group Wales 56 Years. Brecon, Wales: Crooked Window. ISBN 978 0 9563602 1 2. 
  6. ^ "Hubert Dalwood :: England & Co". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  7. ^ "artnet Galleries: Tree by Hubert Dalwood from New Art Centre". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  8. ^ "Sculpture Hubert Dalwood (1924 - 1976) - Icon (1958) - Leeds Art Gallery Online". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  9. ^ Dalwood, Kathy (2004-02-26). "kathy dalwood studio blog: Sculpture: Hubert Dalwood exhibition - Roche Court". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  10. ^ "'Standing Draped Figure', Hubert Dalwood". Tate. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  11. ^ "'Lucca', Hubert Dalwood". Tate. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  12. ^ "'Large Object', Hubert Dalwood". Tate. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  13. ^ "'O.A.S. Assassins', Hubert Dalwood". Tate. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  14. ^ "'Maquette for 'Arbor'', Hubert Dalwood". Tate. 1972-01-15. Retrieved 2013-12-04.