I inherited this sculpture from my grandmother in 1998, I’ve been aware of it’s existence since I was about 10 years old, ca. 1978.
I have a provenance that would satisfy no one but myself, namely my grandmothers word, which of course satisfies me very well.
She was a middle class WI dressmaking and soft furnishings teacher and not the type to make up stories about infamous occultists.
The object is a small bronze sculpture of a sea serpent on a rock, my grandmother acquired it whilst working as a secretary for Aleister Crowley’s solicitor, she told me that Crowley, being financially embarrassed after losing a libel case had presented his solicitor with various bits and pieces in lieu of payment, my grandmother expressed a liking for the sculpture and was given it by her boss.
After doing some research it seems likely that she was working for Isidore Kerman, I’ve written to his son Andy who has carried on the practice but sadly no records from that period exist.
So I am in the strange position of being the owner of what I understand to be a rather rare object with no way of proving it is what I believe it to be.
If I had provenance I would not be able to justify owning it, so it has that benefit, I am rather fond of it and would have been sorry to sell it.
That said it seems churlish not to share pictures of the sculpture.
It is fairly crudely made, the serpent looks as though it was made on a flat surface and then added to the rock prior to casting.
Thanks Jon, and welcome to LAShTAL.
The sculpture has a certain charm, especially the face of course. You are perfectly justified in owning it, nothing suspicious in your means of acquiring it. You grandmother's story is not implausible.
The mind naturally leaps to Rodin, but a search with "rodin" "sculpture" "serpent" "tête", etc. doesn't bring up a copy. There are exhaustive catalogues of his work, but I'm nowhere near any libraries with them.
And it might not be Rodin.
Very nice little piece you have there.
Thank you for the welcome.
I meant that I wouldn't be able to afford to keep it if I had proof that it belonged to Crowley.
Here is a picture with a 20p coin for scale.
There is a signature of sorts but I am unable to make anything of it.
In lieu of payment certainly sounds right: I once saw a Book of Thoth with a long inscription beginning "Please accept this in lieu of payment..."
According to this NYT article, the Rodin Committee (affiliated with the Rodin Museum) will evaluate a work thought to be a Rodin for €1600.
Sadly, the photos provided by Jon Hearn are no longer visible in his posts. Any way to dig them up?
The modeling is quite naive so I do not believe that Rodin is the artist. I think it closely resembles Crowley's paintings and that he was the artist, this is just my opinion, I've no evidence to back my hunch up.
Here's a link to the photos
oh thanks! Yes, it is hard to say. Fascinating piece, whoever the artist.