Artists > David Backhhouse FRBS RWA FRSA
David Backhouse, sculptor and designer, lives and works near Bath in the UK. He also has a studio near Brantome in France.
His early career was spent working and travelling in Europe, where he was particularly involved with portrait commissions.
David has made many sculptures for public sites and private clients and has held numerous one-man exhibitions, both in the UK and abroad.
He exhibits frequently at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and his work is in collections throughout the world.
David is a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors (FRBS), a Royal West of England Academician (RWA), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and a Member of The Society of Protrait Sculptors, The Fountain Society and The Society of Equestrian Artists.
David Backhouse's work belongs to the long tradition of European sculpture which places man in relation to the powerful forces of the natural world. His work conforms to Romantic ideals yet has the simple, elegant lines of the contemporary aesthetic.
Born in Wiltshire, Backhouse was surrounded by animals from an early age. In his teens he became fascinated with the part-human, part-animal figures of Egyptian sculptures in the British Museum and with the integration of figures in the architecture in the Elgin Marbles. He went on to study sculpture and in the 1970's established a studio on Spain from which he developed a reputation for portrait sculpture, travelling all over Europe to undertake commissions. His return to the UK marked the beginning of his mature work.
Backhouse's understanding of physiognomy is precise and his animal portraits are beatiful. However, animals also play a symbolic role in his recurring themes: the natural world and its omnipresence in human experience, and the power exchanged between animals and man. These preoccupations and his mastery of form make him the natural choice to create the Animal in War Memorial on Park Lane, one of the most significant new monuments in central London for decades.
In Backhouse's work man faces the uncertainty of life alone; his figures appear vulnerable. the cloaked figures are universal, their ethnicity undefined and, as in Pilgrim, absorbed in personal spiritual journeys or experiences of the spirit, as they do in myth and poetry. In Life's Longing 1, the pregnant woman is caught up in a journey she cannot control, carried away by a natural force more powerful than herself. There is always a sense of awe in the work, and an acknowledgement that there are forces at play beyond our understanding.
The roots of Backhouse's work are to be found in Rodin and his vibrant response to the human body, in Bugatti and his passion for the vitality of animal form, and in Epstein and his emotionally charged portrait heads. Other influences include the sensuous, economic modelling on Manzu, the symbolic power of Marini and the work of the English sculptors, Reg Butler and Elizabeth Frink.
David Backhouses' s sculpures are contemporary explorations of enduring themes of human experience, founded in the European tradition and imbued with a passionate personal perspective.
The Sladmore Gallery
David Backhouse is known both for his many commissioned works and for his smaller bronzes. His Memorial to Animals in War was unveiled at Brook Gate, park Lane, by HRH The Princess Royal in November 2004. This is one of the largest and most significant new monuments to be erected in London in recent years.
He says of his work:-
'As Sculptor and designer my work stems from a tradition of sculpture set within architectural environments. By drawing on the qualities of both subject matter and setting, I aim to maximise the aesthetic and symbolic impact of the whole.
My themes are simple and universal: the interdependence of nature and humanity and the search for balance and harmony. The sculptures are meditations, reflecting loss and tragedy, hope and delight, and above all tenacity of spirit.'