Anthropomorphic Rabbits

The Provenance and Development of the Rabbit Sculpture

The Rabbit, The Rat and The Tarantula sculpture has developed from earlier work created on the theme of the white rabbit.

I first produced a direct plaster sculpture of an anthropomorphic rabbit in 1989 whilst living with a community of artists in the Scottish village of Ochiltree, Ayrshire. I placed a rabbit beside the river Lugar, which ran beside my studio. It created quite a stir and was soon adopted by the villagers and salmon poachers alike, who named the rabbit Richard the River Rabbit. Four more rabbits were created, but have never been exhibited publicly. I soon discovered that on clear moon lit winter nights the plaster figure shone with a silver gleam, so I called the theme of work Moon Rabbits. I was shortly surprised to find that a similar creature existed in Chinese mythological culture called a Moon Rabbit, of which I had no previous knowledge.

This, interestingly, links to the original conception of this theme, which came from my earlier career as a primary school teacher. At college I had opted to study children's literature as part of my teaching degree and soon became aware of the many representations of the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland to Br'er Rabbit. A child's cultural image of this animal recurred constantly and in some way represented an early form of symbolism especially relevant to children.

My latest representation of this theme, The Rabbit, The Rat and The Tarantula, was completed in the autumn of 2006 and is photographed in the Chew Valley village of Nempnett Thrubwell where I have my studio over looking Blagdon Lake and the Mendip.

Richard Southall