British sculptor and painter. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, he moved to England at an early age. As a young artist he was drawn to the practice of *direct carving, working on allegorical and religious subjects such as the enormous relief Evening, a stylized mother and child. The critic Kineton Parkes actually preferred his work to that of *Moore, *Hepworth, and *Skeaping because of his respect for natural proportion, avoiding ‘elephantiasis of form’.
Copnall became known chiefly for architectural and decorative sculpture, including wood panels for the first-class restaurant on the ocean liner the Queen Mary and, familiar to many visitors to London's West End, the relief carvings on the Warner (now Vue) cinema in Leicester Square. These depict the spirits of sight and sound. He became president of the Royal Society of Sculptors and was the author of A Sculptor's Manual (1971). His son John Copnall (1928–2007) was an abstract painter. Further Reading K. Parkes, The Art of Carved Sculpture (1931)
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)