Private Collection, UK
1981, Cambridge, Kettle’s Yard, cat. no. 39
2016, London, Daniel Katz Gallery, True and Pure: Eric Gill and Frank Dobson Drawing From Life
Contemporary Arts Society Report, 1925
Tate Illustations, 1928 pl. 128
Apollo Magazine September, 1928 p. 132
Neville Jason and Lisa Thompson-Pharoah, The Sculpture of Frank Dobson (The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, 1994) cat. no. 48, black and white illustration, p. 130
'Head of a Girl' was produced in 1925, when Frank Dobson was experiencing a sustained period of professional success and critical acclaim. Having exhibited with the Vorticist-associated Group X at the start of the 1920s, Dobson was exhibiting with the London Group by 1923 and served as President between 1924 and 1926. In 1925 he was a founder member of the world's first Film Society and in the same year a founder member of the London Artists’ Association. In 1924 he was the only living artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale, alongside the late Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, and in 1926 he was chosen to form part of the Selection Committee for the Venice Biennale. A commercially successful exhibition at the Independent Gallery in 1924 also attracted critical attention from Roger Fry and Clive Bell and in 1925 Fry published an article entitled ‘Mr Dobson’s Sculpture’ in the Burlington Magazine, lauding Dobson's sculptural practice. In 1926 the first monographic book on Dobson’s work written by Raymond Mortimer was published.
Dobson’s masterpiece from this period was his Ham Hill stone sculpture, 'Cornucopia' (1925-27), and 'Head of a Girl' (1925) was a preparatory study for this monumental piece. 'Cornucopia', heavily influenced by his encounter with Buddhist and Hindu sculpture during his 1925 trip to Sri Lanka, depicts a wading woman holding a basket of fruit and was the centrepiece of Dobson’s seminal exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in March 1927, where it was purchased by Lord Ivor Spencer Churchill. 'Head of a Girl' became a work of significance in its own right, however, and one of the three cast bronze versions was presented to the Tate by the Contemporary Art Society in 1929. 'Head of a Girl' was also exhibited in 1930 at the Leicester Galleries, in 1931 at Arthur Tooth & Sons, at Bristol Art Gallery in 1940 and at Kettle’s Yard in 1981. The importance of 'Head of a Girl' in this period of mature brilliance in Dobson’s career is reflected through the use of an image of the plaster model as the frontispiece for Raymond Mortimer’s 1926 monograph.