David Weeks (1927-1996)
Study of the skeleton of the Diprotodon Australis
black and white chalk with touches of yellow on toned paper
332 x 246 mm
Unmounted. The paper not cut square and with light creasing.
Acquired from the artist’s estate
The Diprotodon Australis is an extinct giant marsupial from Australia. A specimen is held by the Natural History Museum, London.
David Antony Weeks was a significant sculptor and educator, based in the South West of England, whose work is currently receiving new recognition. He studied at Plymouth and the Royal College of Art, receiving the RCA silver medal for sculpture in 1952, and co-founding and editing ARK, the Royal College of Art Magazine.
Weeks played an important role in the post-war reconstruction of Plymouth during the 1950s. Two of his most significant public commissions were for the Plymouth Guildhall and the Plymouth Pannier Market. The ceiling of the Guildhall carries his series of sculptural elements representing the 12 labours of Hercules – the principal sculptural ornament in the rebuilt interior. The radical concrete structure of Plymouth’s Pannier Market (1959-60), a project on which David Weeks was artistic consultant, was one of the last elements of Plymouth’s civic centre to be completed and came to represent the rebirth of the city from the ruins of war. The interior contains large schemes by Weeks of murals in the south porch and figures in the north porch. Both buildings are now listed in view of their significance in post-war architecture and design.
In addition to Plymouth, Weeks executed many commissions including a large scale wooden mural for the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament at Buckfast Abbey in 1966. Although he continued to work as a sculptor, he became increasingly involved in education, and was course leader at Newton Abbot School of Art from 1960.
David Weeks’ work from the 1950s is figurative, with a powerful sense of mass and volume, and shows a strong awareness of the work of both Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland. His development of large-scale family and mother and child groups during the decade coincided with Moore’s exploration of the same themes. Weeks exhibited extensively, and held a major solo show at Reading Museum & Art Gallery in 1956. During the later 1960s, Weeks became more concerned with formal, geometrical structures, and it was this aspect of his work which formed the basis of one of his last exhibitions at Dartington in 1969.