Lot Details & Additional Photographs
Circa 1930, black basalt, impressed marks.
7 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.Private Collection, New York and North Carolina
By descent from Ethel Novello, New York, New York
Purchased from Holland's Art Gallery, Chicago, Illinois in 1955
Ethel Novello was an art collector and fashion designer in New York City. She specialized in swimsuit design, clothing contestants for the Miss World Pageant, and her designs were featured in various publications throughout her career. Ethel's brother-in-law was a professor in Japan, and through this connection she acquired much of the Asian artwork offered here at auction.
Ethel's family had a long-time presence within the New York entertainment industry. Her mother, Ethel Novello McAssey, was a Broadway dancer. Her uncle was the famous Armando "Toto" Novello, also known as "Toto the Clown." Based in the Bronx, he was a traveling performer and silent film star throughout the early twentieth century.
John Rattenbury Skeaping was born in Essex in 1901 and studied at Blackheath School of Art. Eventually he became a scholar at the Royal Academy School and in 1924 he won the Prix de Rome. During his three years in Rome he married the sculptress Barbara Hepworth.
Skeaping was commissioned by Frank Wedgwood in 1926 to complete a series of animal sculptures in the Art Deco style. Fourteen figures were designed, with only ten going into production in 1927.
A few very minor light scratches to surface.