Jonathan Kenworthy - Afghan Head with Two Riders Fighting for a Carcass
Afghan Head with Two Riders Fighting for a Carcass
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Jonathan Kenworthy (Westmoreland 1943)

Jonathan Kenworthy is known for his wild animal bronzes, many inspired by his safaris in the Serengeti/Mara.

Aged eleven Kenworthy was invited to attend the Royal College of Art by John Skeaping, then Professor of the Department of Sculpture. Later Skeaping wrote of him: "He is, to my mind, the best sculptor of animals to make an appearance this century". Since then he has been widely acknowledged as the leading sculptor in his field.

He studied at the College from 1954-59 and then at the Royal Academy Schools from 1961-64. He won ten scholarships, including the Royal Academy Gold Medal in 1964. During this time he also studied animal anatomy at the Royal Veterinary College, before going on to dissect wild animals in the Anatomy Department of University College in Nairobi under the guidance of Prof.R.R. Hoffman.

In 1993 he was commissioned by the Duke of Westminster to create a sculpture to be placed on a lake in the gardens at Eaton Hall, in Cheshire. A second casting of the piece, depicting a lioness chasing a lesser kudu, was placed in Upper Grovesnor Gardens, in Central London. The thirty foot bronze was dedicated by the Duke to mark the opening of the gardens for the people of Westminster in June 2000.

Kenworthy is fascinated by the way both people and creatures survive in the world's great wilderness. Hence his enduring love of Africa. Here amongst the vast, remote horizons of the continent, he continues to find his subjects. He works from extensive sketchbooks. He made several appearances on British television and the BBC's cameras followed him on safari and filmed him in the studio and foundry for an hour long documentary entitled "Kenworthy's Kenya" and shown in 1974/75. In a later programme he was filmed working on his Afghan sculptures by independent television.

His African safaris over a forty year period have been punctuated by travels in Asia. In 1977 he watched Afghan horsemen play the savage game of Buzkashi on the Steppes of the Hindu Kush. This led to the first of his three New York exhibitions: "Horsemen of the Hindu Kush" 1979, followed by the "People of the Desert" 1985 and "Survival in the Serengeti" 1991. His last major exhibition was in October 2002 in New York at the Gerald Peters Gallery.

The subjects ranged from Asia, Afghanistan and Nepal, to East Africa and Egypt from the desert to savannah.