William Turnbull

Heavy Insect

About this artwork

Made whilst he was living in Paris, this is a significant example of Turnbull’s early sculpture. It is also an important example of British post-war sculpture. The composition of the piece, with vertical lines emanating from a horizontal base is representative of Turnbull’s work of the late 1940s and expresses his concern with exploring movement through stasis. The inspiration came from the skewed perspective of lying in the grass on a hot day and seeing insects from close up. The sculpture can be seen as reflecting Turnbull’s interest in the writings of Franz Kafka, particularly the character Gregor Samsa from ‘The Metamorphosis’, who turns into an insect. Turnbull’s interest in the process of something changing, or being on the verge of change, reveals his interest in Surrealism.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    William TurnbullScottish (1922 - 2012)
  • title:
    Heavy Insect
  • date created:
    1949
  • materials:
    Bronze
  • measurements:
    52.00 x 84.50 x 22.20 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased with help from the Iain Paul Fund 2007
  • accession number:
    GMA 4847
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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William Turnbull

William Turnbull