• Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Supple Juggler - Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
Click image to enlarge

Supple Juggler

Robert Tait McKenzie

(Canadian, 1867-1938)

Signed R Tait McKenzie and dated 1906
Inscribed Roman Bronze Works NY
Bronze with a dark green patination
Height including base: 13 3/4" (40 cm)

Conceived and cast 1906. Only 6 casts of the sculpture are recorded in the ledger books of the Roman Bronze Company Archives.


Robert Tait-McKenzie spent his life pursuing his three great passions of sport, the arts and medicine. Whilst studying at McGill University in Montreal, he won numerous prizes for his athletic and sporting abilities as well as becoming a lecturer on anatomy at the university. Mckenzie later lectured on Artistic Anatomy at the Montreal Art Association, Harvard University and for the Olympic Lecture Course at the St Louis Exhibition. In 1904 he took up the position of Professor of Physical Education and Physiotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania.

McKenzie was a member of the American Federation of Arts and in 1904 he was awarded a silver medal at the Saint Louis Exposition. In 1912 he was commissioned to create a work for the fifth modern Olympic Games held in Sweden. The piece, entitled Joy of Effort, was incorporated into the Olympic Stadium in Stockholm and Mckenzie received a royal honour from the King of Sweden for his services to athletic art. By 1915 he had been promoted to Major in the RAMC and following the war he developed pioneering new plastic surgery techniques which were used to help disfigured World War veterans.

The Supple Juggler is a particularly rare piece – the ledger books of the Roman Bronze Company Archives (NY) state that only six casts of the sculpture were ever produced. The bronze was exhibited by McKenzie in every major international exhibition: at the Royal Academy in London (1908), at the Paris Salon in 1909, at the Roman Art Exposition in Rome (1911) and at the Fine Art Society in London (1920, 1927).

The Supple Juggler depicts a young man picking up a baseball with his right hand, holding two more in his right hand. The pose is based on the ancient Scottish tradition of picking up a dirk or dagger in this manner. In 1923 Harold Eberlein wrote that ‘anyone who looks at him must be thoroughly convinced of the suppleness of his wiry muscles and of his ability to unwind his contortions like a flash of lightning to assume another posture equally as baffling.’ The present cast is in wonderful condition with a fine multi toned patina incorporating splashes of vivid bright green on a darker, greenish brown ground.

Examples of other works by McKenzie are now part of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the National Gallery of Canada, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Download Exhibition Catalogue for Robert Tait McKenzie

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2016 Exhibition Catalogue

Works by Robert Tait McKenzie

Browse By Artist

Gustinus Ambrosi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ambrosi, Gustinus

(Austrian, 1893-1975)

Michael Ayrton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ayrton, Michael

(British, 1921-1975)

Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Bayes, Gilbert

(British, 1872-1953)

Pietro Calvi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Calvi, Pietro

(Italian, 1833-1884)

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carpeaux, Jean-Baptiste

(French, 1827-1875)

A. E. Carrier-Belleuse, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carrier-Belleuse, A. E.

(French, 1824-1887)

 Carrier-Belleuse & Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carrier-Belleuse & Rodin

(French, 1824-1887 and 1840-1917)

Lynn Chadwick, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Chadwick, Lynn

(British, 1914-2003)

Geoffrey Clarke, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Clarke, Geoffrey

(British, 1924-2014)

Jean-Baptiste Clesinger, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Clesinger, Jean-Baptiste

(French, 1814-1883)

Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Cordier, Charles Henri

(French, 1827-1905)

Aimé-Jules Dalou, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Dalou, Aimé-Jules

(French, 1838-1902)

Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Derwent Wood, Francis

(British, 1871-1926)

Alfred Drury, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Drury, Alfred

(English, 1856-1944)

Sir Jacob Epstein, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Epstein, Sir Jacob

(British, 1880-1959)

Pierre Félix Fix-Masseau, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Fix-Masseau, Pierre Félix

(French, 1869-1937)

Sir George Frampton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Frampton, Sir George

(English, 1860-1926)

Louis Julien (Jules) Franceschi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Franceschi, Louis Julien (Jules)

(French , 1825-1893)

 George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren

(British )

Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gilbert, Sir Alfred

(British, 1854-1934)

Sir William Goscombe John, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Goscombe John, Sir William

(British, 1860-1952)

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gérôme, Jean-Léon

(French, 1824-1904)

Frederick James Halnon, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Halnon, Frederick James

(British, 1881-1958)

Herbert Hampton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Hampton, Herbert

(British, 1862-1929)

Adrian Jones, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Jones, Adrian

(English, 1846-1938)

Fritz Klimsch, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Klimsch, Fritz

(German, 1870-1960)

Gerald Laing, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Laing, Gerald

(UK, 1936-2011)

Frederic Lord  Leighton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Leighton, Frederic Lord

(English, 1830-1896)

Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Lucchesi, Andrea

(Italian, 1860-1924)

Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mackennal, Sir Edgar Bertram

(Australian, 1863-1931)

Robert Tait McKenzie, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

McKenzie, Robert Tait

(Canadian, 1867-1938)

Antonin Mercié, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mercié, Antonin

(French, 1845-1916)

Ivan Mestrovic, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mestrovic, Ivan

(Croatian, 1883-1962)

George Minne, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Minne, George

(Belgian, 1866-1941)

Henry Moore, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Moore, Henry

(English, 1898-1986)

Edward Onslow-Ford, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Onslow-Ford, Edward

(English, 1852-1901)

Eduardo Paolozzi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Paolozzi, Eduardo

(British, 1924-2005)

Pablo Picasso, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Picasso, Pablo

(Spanish, 1881-1973)

Enzo Plazzotta, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Plazzotta, Enzo

(Italian, 1921-1981)

Hiram Powers, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Powers, Hiram

(American, 1805-1873)

Jean-Jacques Pradier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Pradier, Jean-Jacques

(Swiss, 1790-1852)

Sir William Reid Dick, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Reid Dick, Sir William

(English, 1879-1961)

Charles Ricketts, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ricketts, Charles

(English, 1866-1931)

Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Rodin, Auguste

(French, 1840-1917)

 Rodin and Carrier-Belleuse, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Rodin and Carrier-Belleuse

(French, (1840-1917 and 1824-1887))

Eric Stanford, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Stanford, Eric

(British, Born 1932)

Alfred Stevens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Stevens, Alfred

(English, 1818-1875)

Arthur Strasser, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Strasser, Arthur

(Austrian, 1854-1927)

Thomas Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Thornycroft, Thomas

(British, 1815 – 1885)

Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Thornycroft, Sir William Hamo

(English, 1850-1925)

Albert Toft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Toft, Albert

(English, 1862-1949)

Reuben Townroe, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Townroe, Reuben

(British, 1835-1911)

Anton Van Wouw, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Van Wouw, Anton

(South African, 1862-1945)

Arthur George Walker, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Walker, Arthur George

(British, 1861 - 1936)

Ossip Zadkine, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Zadkine, Ossip

(Russian/French, 1890-1967)