Absolutely phenomenal original pencil drawings by renowned and highly collected Royal Academy artist James Butler. These preliminary studies are for the The Burton Cooper statue. The work was commissioned by Pensman Nominees Ltd. Butler visited a cooperage at Bass-Charrington to study the work of two contemporary coopers, and took photographs from which he made a preliminary model. Theses drawings relate to these preliminary visits.
The work was completed in bronze and depicts a single figure, a cooper, at work making a barrel.The cooper is shown in the act of hammering down a temporary shaping truss to hold the wooden staves in place before the permanent iron hoops are fitted. The subject wears the traditional clothing of his trade which includes a floor length apron, with a single hole that was customary for Burton cooper's aprons. The cooper is depicted in a realistic style and Noszlopy and Waterhouse describe the careful attention to detail with which the man's clothing and veins on his left hand are rendered. They also complimented the sense of movement in the piece, which they said was best appreciated from the side views. The statue is engraved with the name of the piece and the artist's signature and date ("Butler 77").
James Butler is one of today’s foremost figurative sculptors. He has been a member of the Royal Academy since 1964; he is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and a Member of the Royal West of England Academy. His many monuments and memorials stand in London and other UK cities and also abroad in Kenya, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, France, Singapore, Madeira and in the USA. His small and medium-size bronzes are in many private collections.