John Huggins RWA FRBS
John Huggins’ exquisite bronze sculptures engage with a rich dialogue of historical and cultural reference. His focus is primarily figurative, drawing inspiration from literature, ancient history, art and modern design, imbuing each piece with a unique personality of its own and a subtle edge of wit.
Huggins’ latest trio of equestrian works, Parthian, Scythian and Sidesaddle, (2011), demonstrate the inquisitive nature of his research. In Parthian Huggins refers to the legendary horsemen of the ancient Parthian Empire. The ‘Parthian Shot’ was a skilled manoeuvre in which a rider would fire an arrow backwards over his horse’s rear whist in full gallop. Huggins subtly acknowledges this action, as a nude female figure atop her caricatured horse gently twists to look over her left shoulder.
The design for Scythian derived from a Japanese print, but the name itself refers again to ancient Mediterranean history and of equestrian tribes renowned for their mastery of mounted warfare. Sidesaddle pulls us forward to the 18th century traditions of the English countryside. A George Stubbs reference is quite clear in the elegant, slender form of the horse, its tail trimmed to the dock; a lady sits with graceful posture in the sidesaddle position. Huggins seamlessly merges together a timeless appreciation of form, storytelling and symbolism with his distinctly modern but powerfully individual style.
Huggins' work has been exhibited in Switzerland, Holland, Guernsey and the United States, as well as in numerous exhibitions and commissions across the United Kingdom. He also spent time as a lecturer at the West of England College in 1963, and later at the Bristol Polytechnic and University of the West of England. In 1996 Huggins was elected to the RWA council, serving as Honorary Secretary, Academicians’ Chairman and Senior Vice President. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.