One of only a handful of public commissions undertaken by Chadwick, Stranger III, originally commissioned by the Air League of the British Empire, gave him an opportunity to work on a monumental scale. This sculpture was to commemorate the double crossing of the Atlantic by the Airship R 34 in July 1919, and was to be placed outside the Long Haul Terminal at Heathrow Airport. The architect of the terminal, the Royal Fine Art Commission, the Minister of Transport and the Committee of the Air League were all enthusiastic about the sculpture. However, in 1958 an opposing committee led by Lord Brabazon of Tara, who called the sculpture a 'diseased Haddock', with the Guild of Air Pilots and Aviators behind him, forced the Air League to withdraw the commission. Lynn Chadwick made one cast in 1959 which has since been destroyed. Three editions are respectively in Spoleto, Italy; Maine, USA and Belgium. Cass Sculpture Foundation has completed the edition with this cast made at Pangolin Editions in Gloucestershire, from a moulding taken from the piece in Belgium. The winged figure is a development from the maquette, Stranger II. The maquette shows two figures merging with the heads looking both to the left and right, symbolising the double transatlantic journey, with spread symmetrical wings. In the final figure Chadwick has foreshortened one wing and tapered the other, whilst maintaining a compositional balance.
About The Artist
Lynn Chadwick was primarily know for his works in metal, which were often inspired by the human form, animals and nature and at times veered towards abstraction. Chadwick’s sculptural approach was closer to techniques found in construction rather than modelling. Chadwick first made a linear armature or skeleton onto which he applied a skin, building up the surface to a solid form. Like many young sculptors in the 1950s, such as Anthony Caro, Lynn Chadwick departed from typical sculptural materials such as marble, wood or stone, in order to embrace industrial materials such as steel and cast iron. By the seventies, Chadwick’s style had developed a new formal, Cubist, symbolism using geometric forms as motifs for the head of a figure, with the diamond or pyramid referring to the female and the rectangular to the male. In Ace of Diamonds III, which took residence at Cass Sculpture Foundation, the pairing of both diamond and rectangle could refer to the interaction of male and female, both moving with controlled elegance and accord. His later works have a smoother, more refined surface with geometry replacing organic shapes. Chadwick created a permanent exhibition of his work at his Gloucestershire home, close to Pangolin Editions, the foundry that cast most of his work.