I understand
arrow drop search cross

1915 – 2005

46 x 40 x 25 cm
Donated by Eric and Jean Cass through the Contemporary Art Society, 2012 © The Estate of Bernard Meadows. Photography Jerry Hardman-Jones


Meadows’ crab sculptures were inspired by his wartime service with the Royal Air Force on the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean, where he became fascinated by the behaviours of crabs.

This sculpture is based on the Fiddler crab, which runs along fast with both claws above its head. British sculpture in the early 1950s often adopted the forms of aggressive or wounded animals, insects or birds.

The critic Herbert Read associated this with a mood of post-war anxiety, adopting an image from T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land of ‘ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas’.