John Rattenbury Skeaping was born in South Woodford, Essex in 1901. Skeaping studied at Goldsmiths College London and later at the Royal Academy. He gained a scholarship at the British School at Rome where he won the Prix de Rome in 1924. Barbara Hepworth was runner up that year, she and Skeaping travelled to Siena and Rome and later married in Florence on 13 May 1925. Hepworth and Skeaping returned to the UK in 1926 and held a joint exhibition of works from their London home. They had a son in 1929 but unfortunately, their marriage did not last.
Skeapings’ works were heavily inspired by animals, especially horses and figurative subjects. Known more for his sculptural works, he was also a talented painter and produced lithographs of his studies. Skeaping forged a prolific career becoming a member of the London Group and later was elected to the Royal Academy. He had a number of successful exhibitions including a large retrospective exhibition of works held in London 1979. Skeapings’ works can be found in the Tate Gallery and private collections around the world.