The Hunter Gatherer - The Collection of George and Maura McClelland, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2004, p.113 (illustrated)
Denise Ferran, F.E. McWilliam at Banbridge, F.E. McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge, 2008, p.36 (illustrated)
In 1931, F.E. McWilliam travelled to Paris on a Ro...Read more
In 1931, F.E. McWilliam travelled to Paris on a Robert Ross Leaving Scholarship from the Slade with fellow student Beth Crowther, from Golear, near Huddersfield, whom he was to marry in March 1932 at St. John's Presbyterian Church, Kensington, London. The McWilliams intended to live, study and work in Paris since: 'it was the mecca, and the whole atmosphere testified to this; holy ground, full of memories of Cézanne and the presence of Picasso.' He met Zadkine and visited his studio and he also went to Brancusi's studio and was given an extensive tour by the Romanian sculptor with long discussions on his work practice.
However, in 1932/33 sterling collapsed against the French franc and both Beth and "Mac" (as he was known affectionately by his friends) were forced to return to England where they rented a home in Chartridge, Buckinghamshire set in a cherry orchard surrounded by sycamores.
With the ready material of the trees and the space available McWilliam began carving, which was his first love. He had befriended the Belfast sculptor George MacCann (1909-67) as students in London and through him was introduced to Henry Moore. MacCann had been a student of Moore's at the Royal College of Art. Moore was, at the time, a carver in stone and wood and his influence then was enormous, not only in England but also internationally.
'Man and Wife', incorporates the simple forms, the reduction of facial features, the merging of the two bodies which are still manifestly recognizable as a man and a woman in close harmony.
George McClelland loved the integrity of this work but it took some persuading to get McWilliam to part with it, possibly because the work reminded the sculptor of the early years of his marriage and his love for his wife, Beth. McClelland, desired it too for a similar reason, as it reminded George of himself, his larger frame towering over his more petite wife, Maura.
Dr Denise Ferran
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(e) Where the purchaser of a lot discharges the onus and acts in accordance with sub-clause (b) of this clause, the auctioneer shall rescind the sale and repay to the purchaser the purchase money paid by him in respect of the lot.
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