The present cast of Bird, the earliest ever sculpture to appear at auction by Dame Elisabeth Frink, has never previously been offered for sale. It was executed during 1952, the year of Frink's first major exhibition at Beaux Arts Gallery and also the year in which the Tate Gallery purchased her other, larger sculpture, of the same title. She was at this time studying at Chelsea School of Art under the tutorship of Bernard Meadows, who during the early 1950s was exploring his theme of the cockerel. Inevitably, therefore, birds played an integral part in the development of her sculptural output, which underwent a transmutation over the following two decades, and included her series of birdmen and harbinger birds.
The non-specific title of the present lot is intriguing. It has been suggested in literature on the artist that the bird depicted is a raptor, a theme she went on to explore in greater depth in the 1970s. However, it is much more likely the bird derives from the raven, as Frink referred to an inspirational trip she made around the same time to the Tower of London , where she studied the famous birds at close quarters.