Frank Owen Dobson


Dobson’s terracotta statue Woman With Birds from The Studio
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Name:Frank Owen Dobson

Dates:1886 - 1963


Address: 14 Harley Gardens, SW10

Dates at address:1946 - 1961


London-born sculptor Dobson was educated in various schools across England and Scotland. His father, artist Frank Dobson, died in 1900 and he moved to Hastings to live with his aunt. He married Cordelia Tregurtha in 1918 but separated in 1926. He met Mary Bussell soon after and they married in 1931. They had one daughter.

After working as a studio assistant and painter in Cornwall he returned to London in 1914, exhibiting paintings at the Chenil Gallery thanks to Augustus John. Service as a rifleman during World War I was ended by illness. He returned to London, painting war commissions for the Ministry of Information. In 1920 he exhibited his first sculptures at Percy Wyndham Lewis’s Group X exhibit. Vaguely cubist and clearly abstract, Dobson’s sculptures were inspired by the work of Maillol. His best-known pieces are The Man Child, Morning and his bust of Osbert Sitwell. President of the London Group from 1924 to 1927 his fellow members include Roger Fry. He was made Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art from 1946 to 1953 on the suggestion of Henry Moore.

Living at Harley Gardens, Chelsea was the centre of his life for many years. Friends included Fry, Lewis and Bell and these formed a tight group, despite Lewis’ occasional delusions. He also had a studio on Manresa Road for many years.

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