Robert Clatworthy (sculptor)

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This article is about the British sculptor. For the American art director, see Robert Clatworthy (art director).
Robert Clatworthy
Robert Clatworthy by James Hunkin, grayscale, cropped.jpg
Robert Clatworthy photographed by James Hunkin in 2001
Born 31 January 1928
Bridgwater, Somerset
Died 15 March 2015
Nationality British
Known for sculpture, painting
Elected RA, 26 April 1973

Robert Clatworthy RA (31 January 1928 – 15 March 2015) was a British sculptor and teacher of art. He was head of the fine art department at the Central School of Art and Design in London from 1971 to 1975, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1973.


Clatworthy's Bull in the Alton Estate council housing estate in Roehampton, in south-west London

Clatworthy was born at Bridgwater, Somerset, on 31 January 1928. He went to Dr. Morgan's Grammar School in that town.[1] In 1945–46 he studied at the West of England College of Art. From 1947 to 1949 he studied at the Chelsea School of Art in London, and then in 1950–51 at the Slade School of Fine Art.[2] He worked briefly as an assistant to Henry Moore.[1]

In the early 1950s Clatworthy was, with Anthony Caro, Elizabeth Frink and Eduardo Paolozzi, among the dynamic young sculptors brought in by Frank Martin to teach in the new sculpture department at Saint Martin's School of Art.[3] He taught at the Royal College of Art from 1960 until 1972 and, between 1967 and 1971, also at the West of England College of Art. He was a governor of Saint Martin's from 1970 to 1971, and then, until 1975, head of the fine art department at Central.[2]

He was elected a Royal Academician on 26 April 1973.[2]


Many of Clatworthy's sculptures are bronzes of animals. His first solo show was at the Hanover Gallery in 1954.[1] His work is in the collections of the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Arts Council of Great Britain.[2] His portrait bust of Elizabeth Frink (1983) was bought by the National Portrait Gallery in 1984.[4]

Two of his works are installed as public art: a Bull commisioned by the London County Council in 1956–57 is now in the Alton Estate council housing estate in Roehampton, in south-west London; and Horseman and Eagle, commissioned in 1984–85 for a new office block at 1 Finsbury Avenue in the City, is now in the grounds of Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith.[1]

In the 1950s Clatworthy was one of the best-known sculptors in Britain. The critic David Sylvester thought his work the best by any sculptor younger than Moore; Clatworthy and his LCC Bull appeared on the front page of the Sunday Times in 1957, the same year the Tate Gallery bought the first of two of his bull sculptures. His reputation later faded. He spent his later life in an isolated farmhouse at Cynghordy, near Llandovery, in southern Wales.[1][5]

In about 1990 Clatworthy developed a skin infection which prevented him from working in plaster, and turned to painting. He returned to sculpture in 2002.[6]

Clatworthy was married twice: to Pamela Gordon in 1954, with whom he had two sons and a daughter, and from whom he was divorced; and to Jane Illingworth Stubbs in 1989.[5] He died on 15 March 2015.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f [s.n.] (20 March 2015). Robert Clatworthy, sculptor - obituary. The Telegraph. Accessed March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Robert Clatworthy RA: Profile. The Royal Academy. Accessed June 2014.
  3. ^ Malcolm Le Grice (2011). History Lessons. Frieze Issue 142, October 2011. Accessed June 2014.
  4. ^ Elisabeth Frink: 1 portrait by Robert Clatworthy. National Portrait Gallery. Accessed March 2015.
  5. ^ a b Elizabeth Sleeman (ed.) (2003). The International Who's Who 2004. London: Europa Publications. p. 330.
  6. ^ Will Bennett (27 January 2003). Object of the week: Robert Clatworthy's Head. The Telegraph. Accessed June 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Keith Chapman (2012). Robert Clatworthy: Sculpture and Drawings. Bristol: Sansom & Co. ISBN 9781906593834.