In the early 20th century British sculpture was turned on its head by artists Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Eric Gill. Their pre-occupations are palapably distinct. Where Gill creates images of sex and fertility – his works could pass for pagan idols – Brzeska re-interprets the human form in a swirl of misshapen modernism.
But Epstein’s pieces are perhaps the most striking, marked by a sleek futurism that will seem familiar to fans of later sci-fi cinema, demonstrating his influence and the fact he was truly ahead of his time. His ‘Rock Drill’ features one of the earliest images of robotic man in sculpture, which could pass as a Stormtrooper’s forebear.
» Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD TUBE: Green Park. Until Jan 24. £9