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Ronald Moody

Sculpting Life

Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski, Eleanor Clayton, Paul Dash, David A. Bailey, Errol Lloyd, Cynthia Moody, Val Wilmer, Farah Dailami


Accompanying the exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield from 22 June to 3 November 2024, this is the first major monograph on sculptor Ronald Moody, exploring his legacy and impact through his key artistic relationships, networks and influences

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Ronald Moody (1900–1984) was a leading modernist sculptor and yet, until now, there has been no comprehensive overview of his work. This biography explores the development of his sculpture, re-establishing his place within the story of 20th-century art.

Contributions by those who knew him – Paul Dash, David A. Bailey, Cynthia Moody, Errol Lloyd and Val Wilmer – punctuate Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski’s biographical account. Their personal reflections and photographs, and transcripts of Moody’s BBC radio broadcasts, offer insights into his cultural influences and studio life, with his brother Harold, a campaigner for racial equality, and the Caribbean Artist Movement, at the core.

Born in Jamaica, Moody arrived in Britain in 1923 and initially trained as a dentist, before switching paths to become an artist, establishing studios in London and Paris. In 1939, six of his works were shown alongside African American artists in a large survey exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. By 1941 he had produced some forty known sculptures in bronze and wood, and was regularly exhibiting internationally. On the lead up to the Second World War his creative and cultural life was flourishing. Immersed in the art world, he formed friendships with journalists, actors and artists including Marie Seton, Wifredo Lam and Man Ray, until forced to flee the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940.

Back in London, he continued to work and exhibit for nearly half a century, accepting the prestigious Gold Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica for his eminence as an international sculptor in 1977. Receiving little recognition in Britain during his lifetime, however, cultural institutions are now rightfully acquiring and celebrating Ronald Moody’s work.


'Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski’s handsomely illustrated biography is the most concerted treatment of the artist yet ... reveals a significant figure and a proselytiser for Caribbean art'
New Statesman

'The core of the book is Sowinski’s research, but it also includes an impressive range of other voices. That range of voices gives a rich and rounded picture of Moody, something that would not have been possible without Sowinski’s generosity in writing and research….. What is astonishing, is that it has taken until now for Moody to be brought to wider attention, something this retrospective and the accompanying book more than make up for'
Art Studio International

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 24.0 x 16.5 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Illustrations: 124

Publication date: 20 June 2024

ISBN: 9780500027035

About the Author

Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski is a Ronald Moody specialist. She is the co-editor and contributing author of Mirror Reflecting Darkly: The Rita Keegan Archive; contributing author of Archiving Caribbean Identity: Records, Community, and Memory; and contributing co-author of Communities, Archives and New Collaborative Practices. Eleanor Clayton is Senior Curator at The Hepworth Wakefield, and the author of several books, including Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life, also published by Thames & Hudson.