Explore a sculpture display at the Royal Academy

Take a guided tour of artworks on display upstairs in the Sackler Gallery of the RA's Burlington House home.

The sculptures in this display have all been selected from the RA Collection by Richard Deacon RA. A sculptor himself, he says:

"I wanted to include abstraction and representation, I wanted a variety of materials. I also took the opportunity to include some things I hadn't seen before."

His selection includes works spanning over 200 years. The featured sculptors, like Deacon, are all Royal Academicians – artists who lead the RA.

Let's take a closer look at some of the works...

Anthony Caro RA
Cascade Series: Mouchoir, 1990

This sculpture cascades over the edge of its supporting table and twists down to the gallery floor. The rusted and waxed steel has a fabric-like feel which may explain Caro's chosen title, since mouchoir means handkerchief in French.

Bill Woodrow RA
Fingerswarm, 2000

Bill Woodrow has balanced a swarm of bees made of bronze and gold leaf on three fingers. He once attended a weekend beekeeping course where the instructor dropped a swarm of the insects onto Woodrow's bare arm. He later thought about the experience: "from hand came fingers, and three fingers sticking out like legs supporting the swarm was an image that excited me".

Woodrow placed one of the three fingers in a pot of wax, reflecting what he sees as the two-way relationship between humans and bees: we support them while also taking from them.

Lynn Chadwick RA
Teddy Boy and Girl, cast in 2002 after a 1955 original

This pair of angular figures features elements of the flamboyant fashions of the "teddy boy" subculture of the 1950s, including drainpipe trousers and pleated coats.

Lynn Chadwick made the model for the sculpture by welding together an iron skeleton, covering it with a skin of iron filings and plaster and then carving into it. He later cast the figures in bronze.

Thomas Banks RA
The Falling Titan, 1786

This scene from greek mythology shows an earthbound giant's failed attempt to climb a pile of boulders up to Mount Olympus (home of the gods) in order to overthrow Jupiter, god of the sky and thunder.

At the base of the sculpture, two goats and a satyr (part-man, part-beast) flee in fear as the titan tumbles down the mountain.

Michael Sandle RA
Head Mickey Mouse, 1978

This stylised Mickey Mouse head appears to be covered in raised veins, as if it had been skinned. The effect was caused by cracks that appeared in Sandle's original clay model as it dried. When he made a rubber mould of it to cast in bronze, the cracks were reversed.

This accidental result gave Sandle the idea "that a decaying cadaver of Mickey Mouse would be the right symbol for all that I consider to be rotten within western capitalism."

Hamo Thornycroft RA
The Mirror, 1890

The title of this marble work has a double meaning. It refers to the baby girl looking at her reflection in the hand-mirror, and also the mother who observes her own features echoed in those of her child. The artist modelled the child on his own daughter.

John Gibson RA
Phaeton Driving the Chariot of the Sun
About 1846–48

This plaster sculpture shows a scene from Greek mythology: Phaeton has lost control of the powerful chariot belonging to his father, the Sun god Helios. Moments later in the story, Zeus will strike the chariot with a thunderbolt – saving earth, but killing Phaeton.

Rebecca Warren RA
Sieben, 2013

The modelling in this tall, slim, bronze sculpture provides hints of body parts and perhaps a shoe. Warren describes the piece as "pinched and pulled, made of silhouettes, profiles, gestures and postures".

She hand-painted the bronze, dividing it into (in her words) "rich, dark blues on the top part, like matter dipped in oil; a rudimentary veil of tartan in the middle section and on the lowest part, a scumbling of paler hues".

The sculpture's title means seven in German (it was first exhibited alongside six similar works).

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