Sladmore: Life in Bronze
Online Auction: 31 March–6 April 2022 • 3:00 PM BST • London

Sladmore: Life in Bronze 31 March–6 April 2022 • 3:00 PM BST • London

S ladmore: Life in Bronze celebrates the beauty and versatility of bronze as a sculptural medium. Each sculptor represented in this auction has a unique approach to modelling in clay and then casting, chasing and patinating the model in bronze. Within this variety the sculptors all respond to the elegant movement and individual character of their animal and figurative subjects.

The Sladmore Gallery in London has been at the vanguard of our appreciation of animal sculpture in bronze since it was opened by the Horswell family in Bruton Place in the 1960s. Continued today by successive members of the same family, they are now centralising their business in Jermyn Street.

Sotheby’s is proud to partner with the Sladmore to present a curated auction drawn from the full range of their activity. It includes the finest casts by the greatest 19th-century animalier sculptor, Antoine-Louis Barye, the exquisite bronzes of Rembrandt Bugatti, and the gallery’s contemporary sculptors, with works by Mark Coreth, Geoffrey Dashwood and Sophie Dickens. The sale also includes an exciting selection of bronzes by the cosmopolitan Impressionist sculptor, Prince Paul Troubetzkoy, amongst other figurative works.
We are thrilled to welcome Mark Coreth to Sotheby’s on Monday 4th April for a demonstration of his dynamic approach to modelling. Mark will model a seated grooming panther in our Main Gallery from 2 to 4pm. He will explain his technique and process in building up his model on an armature and relate his inspiration to selected works from our auction: Sladmore: Life in Bronze.

Mark Coreth was born in London but spent his childhood in Kenya where he grew up surrounded by the exotic Flora and Fauna of the Kenyan highlands, which fostered Mark's early and continuing passion for wildlife and the sculpting of it.

Having served with The Blues and Royals, on his return to England Mark was commissioned to make a silver sculpture of his regiment's drum horse "Belisarius", for the Warrant Officer's Mess and later a second cast in bronze became the Household Cavalry's wedding present to The Duke and Duchess of York; his first commission, a taste of many more to come. He held his first exhibition at the Sladmore Gallery whilst still a serving soldier and has now shown with the gallery for over 20 years.

Mark has had no formal art school training, his ability is based on his dedication and hard work, coupled with an acute and perceptive eye, drawing heavily on experiences gained during his early years in Kenya and regular sculptural safari's around the world, with his ‘Backpack Studio’. His sculptures reflect his instinctive understanding of the behaviour and physicality of the animals he sculpts. Working with extraordinary speed, if the original plasticine or clay fails to speak to him within a couple of hours Mark destroys it and starts again. He captures violence, speed and movement, or even tranquility and pathos with deceptive ease, and is now internationally recognized as the master sculptor of the animal in motion.

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Auction Highlights

Call of the Wild

From Barye in the mid-19th century to Bugatti in the early 20th century, the natural elegance and raw energy of wild animals from Africa, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent have been a constant source of inspiration to sculptors. Whilst these artists only studied their subjects in the zoos of Paris and Antwerp, their deep understanding of the anatomy and character of the animals were brought to life by their skilled modelling and the beauty of the bronze. Today, sculptors such as Jonathan Kenworthy and Mark Coreth study their subjects in the wild, giving an unmistakable immediacy and intimacy to their models.

Man’s Best Friend

Sculptures of cats and dogs, horses and cows - the animals that share our everyday life – have always been sought after by collectors. With a burgeoning affluent middle class from the 1840s, the demand for small bronzes of domestic animals expanded. Racing and hunting were popular subjects, and many French sculptors were inspired by Scottish subjects for an eager British market.

Impressionism in Sculpture

Au Passant, the recent exhibition of Impressionism in Sculpture in Frankfurt, showcased Paul Troubetzkoy and Rembrandt Bugatti as prime exponents of this trend in sculpture. The fluid modelling of Troubetzkoy’s high society portraits was taken up by Bugatti in his animal, and occasional figurative, sculpture. Bourdelle’s iconic model of Herakles The Archer is worked with equally free impasto but in a more powerful and classical manner.

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