Portrait Bust of Sergeant Jimmy Waters, 2nd A.I.F., 1941
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Provenance: Artist's studio
54cm (21.25in) x 53cm (21in)
Painted plaster. A Second World War portrait bust of Sergeant Jimmy Waters, 2nd A.I.F., modelled in slouch hat with rising sun badge, battledress blouse and slung .303 rifle. Signed and inscribed to the reverse 'Barbara Tribe / LONDON 1941’
Barbara Tribe (1913–2000) was born in Australia and studied at the Sydney Technical College under English born sculptor Raynor Hoff, whom she later assisted on the controversial art deco inspired ANZAC war memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney. Tribe’s figure work at this time, is said to be heavily influenced by Hoff, and there are echoes of Hoff’s Diggers that adorn the Hyde Park memorial in the present bust of Sergeant Jimmy Waters.
In 1935 Tribe won the New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship and came to London where she enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools and at the City & Guilds School of Art in Kennington (1936-37) before being accepted into the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Art. Tribe met Waters through contacts at Australia House in wartime London. She was then working for the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments, recording vulnerable historic buildings under the threat of heavy aerial bombing then ongoing. Waters sat to Tribe during 1941 and the couple became engaged. However the relationship failed after Waters was posted to the Middle East.
In 1943, Tribe was commissioned by Australia House to produce busts of Australian pilots serving with Fighter, Coastal and Bomber Command. In total Tribe completed seven busts of Australian airmen for the Australian Government. Several of these were subsequently cast in bronze, and entered the Australian War Memorial collection. The present bust of Waters was exhibited at one of the Civil Defence Artists' Exhibition organised by Vera Cunningham at the Cooling Galleries, New Bond Street, and is and illustrated in the artist monograph 'Barbara Tribe, Sculptor' by Patricia R.McDonald (2000). In 1947 Tribe married an architect and potter and took up a part time teaching post at the Penzance School of Art, finally retiring in 1988. Tribe was a member of Newlyn Society of Artists and St Ives Society of Artists. Her bust of the Gallipoli commander William Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood is displayed in the Western Front Gallery at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.