A Friendship Cast in Bronze

Older K by Nigel
A chance visit to Brockwood by leading British sculptor, Nigel Boonham, has led to the rare Bourdelle bust of Krishnamurti being exhibited in London in May. Nigel, who attended the public talks at Brockwood in 1983, had been working on a bust of Krishnamurti himself when he became stuck and needed photographs that only Brockwood could provide. Whilst visiting the Foundation to collect the photos, he was told by archivist Duncan Toms of the bust of Krishnamurti owned by Brockwood and created by famous French sculptor Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, which was displayed in the drawing room of the main house.

The Cast at Brockwood
Duncan took Nigel to see the bronze and he later wrote, “It is a beautiful cast, lovely patina, in very good condition, the thinness and brassiness of the bronze is indicative of being cast in France, before 1940-ish, but I can't be certain. The [original] K portrait bust was made in 1927 and exhibited in the Salon de Tuileries in the spring of 1929. According to the author Peter Cannon-Brookes, it was the last bronze to leave Bourdelle’s studio during his lifetime. During the last years of his life, Bourdelle became increasingly attached to the mysticism of Krishnamurti who became a good friend of the Bourdelles. His wife travelled to Holland to hear K speak in 1930 after Bourdelle’s death in 1929.”

Original Bourdelle in Paris
Krishnamurti speaking in Bangalore in 1927, made reference to his friendship with Bourdelle in the following manner: “I have talked to great artists and they understand the simplicity of the truth. They are interested not in jargon nor in phraseology, but in life. I do not wish to appear conceited in any way, but the sculptor Bourdelle, who is considered as great if not greater than the famous Rodin, told me, ‘I wish I had met you 20 years ago. I would have been a much greater sculptor.’ I tell you this to make you understand that if you go to the source of all things, everything you do will bear the stamp of greatness and of beauty.”

The bronze given to Brockwood in 1990, is authenticated by a letter signed by Bourdelle’s daughter and is the 4th in a series of 5 casts taken from the original, which is displayed in the Bourdelle museum in Paris. The original is the only one with a large, tiered, Egyptian-style base. Nigel, who is a member of the Society of Portrait Sculptors, was sufficiently impressed by the Brockwood cast to request our Krishnamurti Foundation Trust trustees to allow it to be exhibited in London at the society’s national exhibition. The society borrows a masterwork of portrait sculpture each year and, coincidently, for the coming exhibition it had arranged to borrow from a private collector the Head of Apollo by Bourdelle. Our trustees agreed to the loan, so the bronze from Brockwood will be another Bourdelle on display. As a further companion piece to this, a plaster cast bust of the older Krishnamurti, now completed by Nigel, will also be exhibited.

The exhibition is to occur at La Galleria Pall Mall from 18th to 23rd May


Bourdelle poster


Older K by Nigel


Original Bourdelle in Paris