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ID number:  BIRRC-A0249
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art
Artist / Maker:  Epstein, Jacob
Title / Object name:  Portrait bust of Dame Hilda Lloyd
Object type:  Sculpture
Date made:  1951
Materials:  Bronze
Measurements:  54.61 cm tall

Dame Hilda Lloyd was a medical pioneer. Her achievements included initiating an obstetrical flying squad which saved the lives of mothers and babies throughout Birmingham. She was a compassionate medic who understood the dangers of poverty, venereal disease and illegal abortion.

The controversial artist Jacob Epstein was an incongruous choice for this portrait of the first female president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, a Professor and herself a graduate of the University.

Epstein’s previous commissions had been criticised as ‘indecent’ and ‘shocking’, some being nude portrayals which upset Edwardian sensibilities. However, Lloyd and Epstein immediately warmed to each other, so much so, that the artist insisted on producing a bust for the price of a head. This highly original, bold portrait has been modelled with roughly textured surfaces where Epstein’s fingers have manipulated the features and the gown. He portrays Lloyd as serious and attentive, her graceful neck being extended and her head tilted as if she is listening.

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