Press Quotes

He went the other day to an exhibition of the London Group. Among the busts was one of a man evidently of an intensely emotional and highly strung temperament, and he was shown in a state of nervous tension from the hair of his head to the tips of his fingers. The artist’s name was Eric Schilsky. His manner of modelling – to the speaker, at any rate – was rather unpleasent, but he had successed in saying quite clearly what he meant to say, and that very able work seemed one of the few things alive in a somewhat dreary wilderness; but in a Sunday paper no mention of him was made by the art critic, who bulged with admiration for the works of a very well-advertised sculptor.

The Times, Oct 1929

Nevertheless, there is an air of conventional routine about most of them. Lacking in vision as they are, which may account for the standard of revolt raised by many of the exhibitors, in that much more modern coterie known as “The London Group”.

The outstanding feature of the last named display, by the way, is not a picture but an admirable bronze portrait bust by the young sculptor, Eric Schilsky.

There are several Epstein pieces which have obsessed the critics to untempered praise, but one feels that this is because praising Epstein is nowadays becoming the recognised thing to do.  It cuts one off so definitely from the horde of honest Philistines who cannot bring themselves to love his massive “Rima”, nor his Mongoloid “Morning” and “Night”, and are not ashamed to say so.

Nevertheless, distinctive as Epstein’s work is, one feels that admiration of it should not be so exclusive as to debar from recognition, as did one eminent critic, a work of great talent by a younger sculptor. More will be heard of Eric Schilsky.

The Sun, 11/12/29

…under the influence of his abiding obsession he made a rare return to drawing, undertaking some studies of Ffrangcon-Davie’s ‘beautiful hands’ (although, in fact, he spent so long making the coffee after his prescribed method that the sitting was almost over before the drawing was begun). He also had plans to place the actress on a special revolving platform so that he might spin her round ‘like eggs & bacon, porridge & toast, at breakfast & make make a series of rapid drawings of [her] head & neck’ from different angles, to be used by the sculptor Eric Schilsky as the basis for a collaborative portrait bust.

Walter Sickert: A Life By Matthew Sturgis

The most fascinating of all the Camouflage Officers was Eric Schilsky, who was married to an outstandingly beautiful woman, Bettina; she had been a model and dancer and had an air of romantic strangeness about her…Eric Schilsky was a superb artist and sculptor. He was also a charming companion and raconteur and had known many artists in Paris and it was so exciting for us to hear his stories…

Eric had the most arresting good looks, and a head of pale hair standing out like a halo round his head. He used to play us classical music on his gramophone, and was immensely encouraging to us both in our adolescent artistic careers. We both adored him. In fact, we adored them both…

Soon Victorine (Foot, ES’s 2nd wife) had embarked upon modelling a figure of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ in plasticine. Eric set up the armature for her and helped her considerably. I can’t recall if it was at this time that she began to sit for Eric and Bettine. If the now famous and beautiful ‘Back’ drawing which appeared in his retrospective exhibition in Broad Street was Victorine’s, it was one of the most sensitive and beautiful works of art ever.

Felicity Fisher, neé Sutton, artist.

The Camouflage Unit teemed with men who would become huge artistic cheeses in the years after the war. They were the painter Tom Monnington and the architect Hugh Casson (both future Presidents of the Royal Academy); Richard Guyatt, the graphic designer (future rector of the Royal College of Art); Eric Schilsky, the sculptor, and Edward Wadsworth…

Virginia Ironside from her book Janey and Me, Growing up with my mother (Harper Perennial)