Nicholas Pope (1949-) has been making work consistently for more than forty years. At the beginning of his career, he was well known for making mainly wooden sculptures, later he experimented with diverse materials including glass, aluminium, textiles, marble, knitting and porcelain, but predominantly in ceramic. Having eschewed the London art schools, he studied at Corsham, attracted by the highly regarded sculpture course run by the Bath Academy. Pope graduated in 1973 and soon afterwards Bill Tucker invited him to take part in the seminal The Condition of Sculpture at the Hayward Gallery. Pope also began showing with innovative galleries such as Garage in London and Art and Project in Amsterdam. As he began to exhibit around the world, Pope's work entered major international collections such as Tate, the Guggenheim and Kröller-Müller and in 1980, he was asked to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale.
Like many of his peers who emerged in the 1970s, who were preoccupied with finding a new and distinctive sculptural language, Pope's work marked a disassociation with the brightly coloured, welded metal or moulded plastic sculpture of an earlier generation and he began to be known for using mainly natural materials, which he carved, or more simply, stacked and assembled. The works in the exhibition in the gallery and sculpture park at Roche Court comprise wood, stone, chalk, terracotta and rope. However, whilst these early works reveal his understanding and concern for materials, they are not about the actual materials per se. Instead, he spoke about his sculpture of the time as being about space and that "the way I use space is by affecting the material". Norbert Lynton wrote in 1980: "Pope needs a material he can work intimately, that resist as well as guides, makes physical demands on the sculptor, possibly quite extreme ones. When he works clay to make marvellously delicate terracottas he has to proceed with the care of a jeweller, when working chalk or sandstone lumps, with the attack of a lumberjack".
Nicholas Pope lives and works in Herefordshire and his work resides in many institutional collections, including that of Tate, the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York, and Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.