Henri Gaudier-Brzeska Toy Replica
Actual size replica
Dimensions: 160 x 40 x 30 mm
This jesmonite replica has been made exclusively for Kettle's Yard by a local maker, using moulds taken from the original bronze.
Toy – otherwise known as Torpedo Fish or Ornament – was commissioned from Henri Gaudier-Brzeska in 1914 by the writer T.E. Hulme, who paid £2 for it. It was one of a number of hand-held pieces made by Gaudier for friends and members of the Vorticist group. These small sculptures were designed to be held, handled, played with and worn. Fellow sculptor Jacob Epstein recalled that Gaudier thought them “great fun to do” and that Hulme would carry Toy “about him in his pocket, and would handle it while talking.”
Henri Gaudier was born in St. Jean de Braye, near Orleans, in France. He first came to Britain in 1908. He met Sophie Brzeska while working as a student in the evenings at Ste. Genevieve Library in Paris in 1910. In the same year he left France under a cloud of social hostility and settled in England adding the name Brzeska to his own soon after. He worked in isolation until he met Middleton Murray in 1912, whereafter he built up a circle of artists and intellectuals which included Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis and T. E. Hulme. He became involved in Pound's and Lewis' Vorticist group, contributing to the two issues of their magazine Blast. Gaudier was killed in action during the First World War in Belgium.
These replicas are handmade in Norfolk by Alistair Burgass, exclusively for Kettle's Yard.