2002/30/2 Figure, kangaroo, earthenware with 'Moonstone' glaze, designed and modelled by John Skeaping, made by Wedgwood, England, 1933
Wedgwood's kangaroo figure was modelled in 1927 by John Rattenbury Skeaping, a student of the sculptor Richard Garbe and a noted artist himself. Wedgwood commissioned Skeaping to design a series of 14 models of different animals, among them this kangaroo, in an attempt to attract greater interest in the very depleted markets (in the late 1920s Wedgwood suffered direct effects of the Wall Street crash). Only 10 models, including this kangaroo, were eventually put into production. Skeaping's models emphasised the angularity of the subject in a distinctively contemporary manner.
At the time the highly stylised forms of contemporary sculpture, such as those found in works by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, were in line with the style of modern interior design. This fact together with Wedgwood's policy of inexpensive simplicity ensured popularity of Skeaping's models throughout the 1930s.
These and other 'modern' designs produced at Wedgwood during the decade gave the public the opportunity to buy contemporary 'art' ceramics at a modest cost.