Reg Butler (1913-1981) trained as an architect, lecturing at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London until the outbreak of the second world war. In 1947, he became an assistant to Henry Moore before staging his first solo show of sculpture at the Hanover Gallery London two years later. Butler was one of the standout artists exhibited at the 1952 Venice Biennale and reached major international fame a year later when he won the competition for a monument to ‘The Unknown Political Prisoner’ ahead of Naum Gabo and Barbara Hepworth.
While Butler’s early works made use of his training as a blacksmith during the war by creating abstracted figures from forged steel, he would subsequently use bronze shell casting to develop a figurative style that took the female form as its main subject matter. Butler’s sculptures depict the female body as fragmented, twisted and metamorphosing between human and non-human elements. Rather than conceiving the work as a solid, static object, his sculptures embody dynamic and transformative movement.