A new exhibition Sir Jacob Epstein: Babies and Bloomsbury has just opened at the ever-delightful Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury’s Brunswick Square.
Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), pioneer of modernism and distinguished portrait sculptor, worked from a number of studios in the Bloomsbury area and from 1916 he lived in a house which overlooked the gates of the Foundling Hospital. Epstein loved the area for its proximity to the British Museum which he, like many of his contemporaries, found a constant source of inspiration.
Epstein clearly adored children, not only his own five children, but also those of his friends and contemporaries. He loved babies and children as a subject matter for his sculpture too, making many portraits of children throughout his career – even with all the challenges that such small subjects presented.
This exhibition, curated by Gill Hedley, brings together a remarkable selection of some of Epstein’s wonderfully moving bronzes and drawings of babies and children, including those of members of his own family.
The exhibition also highlights Epstein’s bohemian lifestyle and his extremely complex domestic life. During his time living in Bloomsbury, Epstein had five children from a number of extramarital affairs. His wife Margaret, although unable to have children herself, raised the eldest and youngest of these children. Poor Margaret was generally tolerant of her husband’s repeated infidelities until her death in 1947. Although she allegedly shot her husband’s long-term lover Kathleen Garman – later Lady Epstein – in the shoulder with a pearl-handled pistol. Everyone has their limits!
This exhibition features bronzes, drawings and archive photographs of the artist, his children and their mothers, and explores Epstein’s life in Bloomsbury in the shadow of the Foundling Hospital.
Until 10th May 2015
The Foundling Museum
40 Brunswick Square,
London WC1N 1AZ
Admission charge includes entrance to all temporary exhibitions and displays.
Adult: £7.50 (£8.25 including Gift Aid)
Concession: £5 (£5.50 including Gift Aid)
Free admission for children up to 16 years, Foundling Friends and Art Fund members
Half price admission for National Trust members. Unfortunately this arrangement does not include National Trust affiliates like National Trust for Scotland. Please check the National Trust website for more information.