John Rattenbury Skeaping (1901-1908) was born in Essex into an artistic family - his father was a painter and illustrator and his mother was a musician. He studied at Goldsmith's College, the Central School of Arts & Crafts and the Royal Academy in 1919-20. In 1924 he was awarded the Prix de Rome, a scholarship allowing young artists and the same year married the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. (The marriage was dissolved in 1933.) John Skeaping's first exhibition at the Royal Academy was in 1922 and in 1926 he produced the first of many sculptures for Wedgwood. In total around 10 figures were produced up to the 1940s in cream, basalt, grey and moonstone colours, the most notable of which, from the Australian perspective, was the kangaroo. In World War II he served in the intelligence services and with the SAS and in 1953 became Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art. His work with Wedgwood was only a small portion of his extensive career.
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