David McFall R.A. (1919 - 1988)


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1955/1 Harley Granville-Barker

Posthumous bust

Bronze (cast by Fiorini foundry)

For the British Drama League

Exhibited Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1956 Catalogue No. 1294

Modelled between November 1954 and January 1955

Reference: ‘Granville Barker - Secret Life’ (Eric Salmon) with

photograph of this bust on page 334

Harley Granville-Barker - English actor, producer, director, dramatist, and Shakespearean scholar Harley Granville-Barker was born on November 25, 1877, in London, England. At the age of 14, he first became involved in the theatre as an actor. In 1900, he joined the experimental Stage Society, and by 1904, he had landed the job of manager of the Court Theatre where he introduced the public to the plays of Henrik Ibsen, Maurice Maeterlinck, and George Bernard Shaw. He was especially well-known for his productions of Shakespeare which revolutionized the way the Bard's plays would be performed in the theatre with their naturally spoken dialogue. Granville-Barker also produced several of his own plays including The Voysey Inheritance (1905), Prunella (1906), Waste (1907), and The Madras House (1910). The Voysey Inheritance, perhaps Granville-Barker's most important play, and is populated with brilliantly drawn, realistic characters reminiscent of the plays of Granville-Barker's contemporary and friend, George Bernard Shaw. During World War I, Granville-Barker served

in the Red Cross, and after the war, he was elected President of the British Drama League. Shortly thereafter,

however, he relocated to Paris, and in 1923 he began writing his famous Prefaces to Shakespeare (1927-48).

Previously, most Shakespearean analysis had been from the viewpoint of the critic. Granville-Barker took a

different approach. He looked at the plays from the practical perspective of the producer, and his writings

would become a cornerstone of Shakespearean criticism. During this period, he also collaborated with his

second wife on translations of several Spanish plays. In 1940, Granville-Barker and his family fled to Spain.

From there, they travelled to the United States where he worked for British Information Services and lectured

at Harvard University. He returned to Paris in 1946 and died there later that same year, on August 31. Although

often overlooked during his lifetime, Granville-Barker's plays have come to be recognized as masterpieces of

early 20th century drama.

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