Frank EgertonBorn: 1942
Frank Egerton trained as a jeweller and silversmith but became attracted to wood by its versatility and the possibilities of scale. His Cheshire Cats and Subversive Sheep are well known to lovers of automata and toys. Beautifully carved and detailed his work delights and slyly engages our attention by surreal detail. Sheep bare their teeth sitting cross legged an armchairs; cats get to grips with bunches of roses; circus animals go through their tricks, including devouring their trainers! There are echoes of Calder's magic Circus, Sam Smith's wonderful automata, illustrations to story books such as Alice in Wonderland. There is none of the cuteness or sentimentality of so much animal-inspired art. Though the viewer is engaged and entertained he is also unsettled, mocked a little. Nothing is what it seems. The moving parts surprise and delight with their unexpectedness.
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