F. Derwent Wood

(1871—1926) sculptor

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British sculptor, born in Keswick. He trained in Karlsruhe, then in London at the Royal College of Art, the Slade School, and finally the Royal Academy, where he won a gold medal in 1895. While still a student he was employed as an assistant by Sir Thomas Brock. In 1896–7 he worked in Paris, then taught at Glasgow School of Art, 1897–1901, before settling in London. In the First World War he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was in charge of making masks for plastic surgery at Wandsworth Hospital. From 1918 to 1923 he was professor of sculpture at the Royal College of Art. Wood's sculpture consisted mainly of portraits and memorials. His best-known work is the monument to the Machine Gun Corps (1925) at Hyde Park Corner in London, featuring a svelte, languorous nude bronze figure of David (an inscription explains this choice: ‘Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’). To Susan Beattie (1983) it represents ‘a weary and corrupted tradition’ contrasting with the ‘searing realism’ of Sargeant Jagger's nearby Royal Artillery Monument, but to many people—for all its ‘sickening irrelevance’—it is a beautiful figure.

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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