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'Francis Fawcett'

This three-minute audio clip describes the sculpture Francis Fawcett (d.1972) by John Letts (1930–2010).

Francis Fawcett (d.1972)

Francis Fawcett (d.1972) 1970s

John Letts (1930–2010)

Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery

Full audio description text

This is a life-size, bronze resin sculpture of a man's head and neck. It portrays Francis Fawcett, who was the curator of Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery from 1966 to 1971. This sculpture was created following his tenure, in 1974. The bust is almost 30 cm tall, and stands on a square base, also cast in bronze resin, about 13 cm square. The work is displayed within a square glass case, with one other smaller bronze bust beside it. They stand on a plinth about 70 cm high, which you can walk right around.

The sculpture of Fawcett is made from bronze resin: this is when resin has been mixed with metal powder to give the appearance of the piece being cast in solid bronze. It is a metallic, deep brown colour, with a smooth surface that reflects a warm light.

Francis Fawcett is represented in his 50s. The sculpture is realistic and includes detail of his features. His face is narrow and long, with a high forehead and his hair neatly swept back and parted on the left side. The hair is cut long on top, with a small, wavy quiff, but cropped close and neat around his ears. He has large eyes, with arched brows, high cheekbones and a prominent, slightly hooked nose. The mouth is closed, with a well-groomed moustache above, and a neat, goatee beard emphasises a pointed chin. Fawcett wears an open-neck shirt with a pointed collar, suggesting he is informally dressed. His head is turned slightly to his right. He appears composed and thoughtful.

The condition of the artwork is generally very good, however a slight scratch on the head above the left ear reveals the white resin underneath the bronze coating.

Francis Fawcett was born Francesco Lionello Frangini in Italy in 1922. He received a classical education, but this was interrupted by the Second World War. Deeply opposed to the Fascist regime, he worked in Italy for British intelligence as a spy. Settling in England after the war he took posts at Sheffield Park and Gardens in Sussex and Aberdeen University, where he developed his interest in ethnography. He became Curator at Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery in 1966.

Displayed to the right of the bust of Fawcett, as we face it, is another bronze resin bust. This of Leonard Struebig, who succeeded Fawcett as Museum Curator in 1972.

Leonard Struebig

Leonard Struebig 1970s

John Letts (1930–2010)

Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery

This sculpture, also created by John Letts, is similar to that of Fawcett, but very much smaller: it stands no taller than the height of an adult's hand. Struebig, like Fawcett, was a keen anthropologist and continued the work of his predecessor in developing the Museum's ethnography collection.

Art UK and VocalEyes

This audio description was created by VocalEyes for Art UK Sculpture, a national project to document and increase access to the UK's publicly owned sculpture. This description is one of 25 representing sculpture collections across the UK.

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