Reclining Figure (c.1958)
by Frederick Edward McWilliam (1909-92)
This work was commissioned from McWilliam with funds given by member of Senate, Sir Lucius O’Brien. Originally installed in the quadrangle at the David Keir building, its permanent home is now in the main Quadrangle at the Lanyon. The heavy bronze sculpture was positioned on its new plinth in 2013, craned in from the other side of the Lanyon building.
F.E. McWilliam was born in Banbridge, and educated at the Belfast College of Art, and the Slade in London. A contemporary and friend of Henry Moore, McWilliam was one of the most important sculptors of his generation.
His early pieces were semi-abstract, but after a visit in 1936 to the International Surrealist Exhibition, his work took a distinctly Surrealist turn. He tended to produce works in series, exploring a theme in a succession of variations. Following the 1972 bombing at the Abercorn Tea-Rooms in Belfast, McWilliam created a series of bronzes known collectively as Women of Belfast. The Ulster Museum’s Woman in a Bomb Blast is part of this series.
McWilliam received an honorary doctorate from Queen’s in 1964. He continued to carve and receive accolades for his work until almost the end of his life.