2017-11-22-2018-10-15 --- 2018-10-15 10:07:34--18
Hover to zoom in

LOT :115
Frederick E. McWilliam HRUA RA (1909-1992)
Crossed Legs (1978)
Bronze, 38 x 40 x 28cm (15 x 15¾ x 11'')
Estimate EUR : €10,000.00 - €15,000.00
Auction Date : 22-11-2017


Frederick E. McWilliam HRUA RA (1909-1992)
Crossed Legs (1978)
Bronze, 38 x 40 x 28cm (15 x 15¾ x 11'')
Signed with initials and numbered 4/5
Cast by the Fiorini Foundry

Plaster maquette, collection of F.E.McWilliam Gallery and Studio; edition 1/5, coll. Ulster Museum, Belfast, purchased 1980.


Provenance: edition 4/5, purchased from the artists studio by the present owners, 1981.


Literature: McWilliams notebook, work is numbered 78.10, ie the 10th work of 1978. When he embarked on his series of of Legs 1977 1981, he began the practice of making small accurate sketches of each work beside his notebook entry, which was not just for his won identification, but for the foundries, in this case the Fiorini Foundry, with whom he worked closely. The Sculpture of F.E.McWilliam Ferran & Holman, Lund Humphries, 2012.


Exhibited: 'FE McWilliam', Taylor Gallery Dublin 1979; 'FE McWilliam Retrospective', the Arts Councils of Northern Ireland, 1981, cat. no. 143; exhibition tour, Ulster Museum, Belfast, April - May; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, May June; Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork, July August. Tate Gallery, 1989, cat. no. 64, illus. p. 63; Beaux Arts, Bath, 1991; Shambles Gallery, Hillsborough, Co. Down, 2003; Inaugural exhibition at the F.E.McWilliam Gallery & Studio, 2008,, illus. p.110.


Women of Belfast and Woman in a Bomb Blast were a highly charged response by McWilliam to the devastating bombs in Belfast and in particular the bombing of the Abercorn restaurant in 1971. This series was followed by the Banners which again focused on the Northern Ireland problems, a series instigated by the Peace People, mainly women, including his longtime friend Sheelagh Flanagan and many others, who marched for peace.


After five years, reacting through his work to the effect of politics, McWilliam or Mac as he was, affectionately called, by his friends, turned for respite to the subject matter he loved most, the beauty and form of female legs. The walls of his studio in Holland Park had many photographs of female forms, especially legs, some from Selfridges advertisements for ladies tights. The capriciousness of McWilliams imagination, used the subject of womens legs as a means to create movement, beauty and intrigue. His observation of Indian carvings, especially in the temples of Orissa, which he studied first hand, informed him that the entire human form did not need to be present to give meaning to the subject. His return to the Surrealist idea of complete fragment and his use of legs, to convey this, as here in Crossed Legs provides all the sensuality, smoothness and playfulness, as ever associated with the subject, stopping short of eroticism. His ability to give meaning in every foot movement and toe position portrays his love of fun and admiration for the female form. His friendship with the Dublin born ballerina, Ninette de Valois (1898 2001) founder of the Royal Ballet, whose portrait he carved in 1963, influenced him greatly, leading to his love of ballet and an appreciation of such an exacting art form in which arm and leg movement were paramount. Feet were important to McWilliam as a means to express emotions whether terror in Women of Belfast which to him were the women as victims of mans stupidity or the joy, anticipation and excitement in Crossed Legs.


Denise Ferran

October 2017


Hammer Price : €24,000.00
  • en
  • fr
  • es
  • it
  • de
  • ru
  • zh-CN
  • el
  • nl


1. Estimates and Reserves

Estimates are shown below each lot in this sale. All amounts shown are in Euro. The figures shown are provided merely as a guide to prospective purchasers. They are approximate prices which are expected, are not definitive and are subject to revision. Reserves, if any, will not be any higher than the lower estimate.

2. Artists Resale Rights (Droit de Suite) is NOT payable by purchasers

3. Paddle Bidding (In Person)

All intending purchasers must register for a paddle number before the auction. Please allow time for registration. We recommend reading "Buying at Adam's" for first time buyers from our web site for more information. Please be aware that photographic identification by way of passport or driving licence will be required for new registrants, together with a secure valid credit card. This is for security purposes only. Potential purchasers are recommended to register on viewing days.

3. Buyer's Premium, Payment & Delivery

Buyers Premium:

The buyer shall pay the Auctioneer a commission at the rate of 20% on the Hammer Price plus VAT @ 23% (applied only to the commission) on all individual lots.

For example on a hammer price of €1,000, the Buyer's Premium amounts to €200 and the VAT on the Buyer's Premium amounts to €46.00, giving a total amount due of €1,246


All purchases must be paid for within two calendar days of the sale. Our payment terms are cash, banker's draft or cheque drawn on an Irish bank. Cheques will take a minimum of five working days to clear the bank, unless they have been vouched to our satisfaction prior to the sale, or you have a previous cheque payment history with Adam's. We also accept the following Credit Cards: Visa & Mastercard, subject to a credit card surcharge of 1.5% of the total invoice value, & American Express, subject to a surcharge of 3.65%. Debit cards, including Laser card payments, are not subject to a surcharge, however there are daily limits on Laser Card payments. Bank Transfer details are available on request. Please ensure that all bank charges are paid in addition to the invoice total, in order to avoid delays in release of the items. Goods will only be released upon clearance through the bank of all monies due.

Delivery takes place the day after the sale from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Uncollected lots may be subject to storage and handling charges unless specific arrangements have been made with the department. It is important to make contact with us in this regard to avoid any unnecessary charges. Adam's outsource all carriage & shipping requests to recommended third parties whom we deal with on a regular basis. This list is available upon request.

4. VAT Regulations

All lots are sold within the Auctioneer's VAT Margin Scheme unless advised to the contrary. Revenue Regulations require that the Buyer's Premium must be invoiced at a rate which is inclusive of VAT. This is not recoverable by any VAT registered buyer.

The VAT on buyer's premium may be zero rated for lots exported outside of the EU. This facility is available to non-residents and has strict guidelines in relation to availing of this scheme. Please contact a member of the accounts department to enquire further.

5. Absentee and Telephone Bids

We are happy to execute absentee or written bids for bidders who are unable to attend or can arrange for bidding to be conducted by telephone. Bid forms are available from our web site or you can leave absentee bids online by registering on Cancellation of bids must be confirmed 24 hours before the auction.

Bidding by telephone may be booked on lots with a minimum estimate of €500. Early booking is advisable as availability of lines cannot be guaranteed.

6. Condition Reports

The property is sold "as is" therefore imperfections/defects are not stated in the catalogue description. It is up to the intending purchaser to satisfy themselves as to the condition of a lot(s) before bidding. Condition reports may be requested in advance of sale subject to our terms of business. The report is an expression of opinion only and must not be treated as a statement of fact.

7. Conditions of Sale

All lots are being sold under the Conditions of Sale as printed in the sale catalogue and on display in the salerooms or via our web site