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Peter King Sculptor: Introduction
This website is devoted to the life and work of the 1950s British sculptor Peter King who died at the age of twenty-nine in 1957. His estate is represented by England & Co.
The research, database construction, and website implementation for this site was carried out by Dr Mike King, Peter King's son, as part of research activities supported by London Metropolitan University and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
untimely death meant that he has been largely omitted from the history
of 1950s British art, but recent discoveries of missing works, diaries,
photographic plates, and other memorabilia indicate the significance of
his work for the period. He was undoubtedly a prolific artist whose exceptional
talent was recognised by Henry Moore, who appointed him as his assistant
along with other emerging sculptors such as Anthony Caro. King was part
of a group of artists associated with Moore's studio, with the teaching
team at St Martin's School of Art, with artists living at the Abbey Art
Centre in London, and with Victor Musgrave's Gallery One in Soho. He received
the Boise Travelling Scholarship and funding from the BFI for an animated
film, and exhibited the film and his work across Europe before succumbing
to blood-poisoning at the age of twenty-nine.
Picture: King at St Martin's School of Art in the 1950s
and Permitted Uses
Cricital assessment by art historian Margaret Garlake
“To encounter Peter King's work is to discover an artist who is, extraordinarily, all but unknown today despite having had a rich and copious production. Even a brief study of the work immediately available in London together with the records of pieces lost or not yet located and others recently discovered confirms that he was an artist with an unusually wide range of references, of imagination, of technical and material resources.
He made sculpture in wood, bronze, lead, cement, aluminium and silver as well as producing a film and a large number of drawings, monotypes and gouaches. Some of these are clearly related to specific pieces of sculpture while others are explorations of sculptural forms, occasional life drawings or fluent sketches made to feed the imagination. The imagery of the works on paper leaves no doubt that King was primarily a sculptor, one who was evidently fascinated by the possibilities of diverse techniques.