Butler, Rosemary (8 of 14). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives.

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Hertfordshire

  • Interviewees

    Butler, Rosemary, 1930- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Whiteley, Gillian (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Rosemary's work at the time. Figurative sculpture. Peter Gregory bought a family group from her - a wire piece, influenced by Reg's work. One in herb garden now - figure - is Rosemary's. Large sculpture for Battersea park open-air show - life-size shell-bronze. Not self- expression, still straight out of life-class. Mother dissappointed she hadn't followed own career and had devoted her life to Reg's work. She continued to think she'd do her own work but never did after that. 1953 - Competition for Monument to Unknown Political Prisoner. Rosemary entered something - man on top of a tower, railings, a literal interpretation. This went into Mall galleries along with other well-known sculptors' work - judges came round. At Slade, Reg brought Zadkine, Giacometti, Laurens around. First show Rosemary saw was Laurens - she had never been to Tate then. Marino Marini very exciting - modern but could connect with it. Also Philip James very important figure - lived in Chesham and instrumental in bringing these artists over. Reg knew Giacometti well, spent time in Paris with him. Exciting time. Reg won prize. At time, Rosemary wasn't living with Reg. Then, exhibition competition show set up in Tate. Recalls Reg's piece being smashed, Reg went to court and others had to give evidence. Two prisoners now - he made another one and mended original. Reg and Rosemary wondering how to go on together. Decided to all live together - Jo, Reg and Rosemary. Jo couldn't leave, Reg wouldn't divorce her. They stayed together and it worked. Rosemary moved into Ash - they bought Ash just after Reg won competition and Rosemary moved in around 1956. Holidays in France. After competition, effort to try to build it. Site in West Berlin - huge bunker. Reg went to Berlin a lot. C.I.A. element. Tony Kloman friends. £4000 prize money - Reg and Jo moved once and then bought Ash. Built extra wing. Studio was built in old kitchen. Nearly killed himself cutting up an old zinc tank, fumes. Description of house. Monument never got built - did maquette and it went into Brussels World Art Fair. Not time for monuments. Reg did lot of work to get it built. Photomontage. Philip and Bertha James. Reg decorates Philip's daughter's wedding cake. Reg went into great detail for cake. Perfectionist. Major artworld wedding. Reg did it with as much attention to detail as he did with everything else. 1954-55. Solo show at Curt Valentin Gallery, New York. Had to re-cast work they showed at Hanover as it had all been sold. Terrific time of creativity. The Manipulator - one of few male figures, head looking up, wrapped in clothing. Wiry sculptures beginning to get filled in, become more solid. Patrick Heron. Sculpture has object in hand - bit picked up in studio, chance object. Assemblage - as later. 8 Manipulators went to New York - Rosemary cast them all in shell-bronze.

  • Description

    Rosemary Butler is the wife of the late sculptor, Reg Butler (1913-1981). Over the course of this interview, she discusses Reg Butler's life and work.

  • Related transcripts

    Rosemary Butler interviewed by Gillian Whiteley: full transcript of the interview

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