British artist Kenneth Armitage was known for his semi-abstract bronze sculptures and for being part of the great renaissance of British sculpture in the early post-war period. Born in 1916 in Leeds, he attended the Leeds College of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. After serving in the army in World War II, Armitage became the head of sculpture at the Bath Academy of Art from 1946 and 1956. It was considered one of the most innovative art schools in Britain at the time. The method of bronze casting had been in severe decline because of the austerity of the post-war years; Armitage was instrumental in a foundry being built nearby so that students and staff could learn, work and collaborate.

Armitage's very early works were carved in stone, but in the post-war years he began casting in bronze, initially using plaster modelled on metal armatures, later using clay. He first attracted international attention at the 26th Venice Biennale in 1952 as one of a group of young British sculptors including Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, William Turnbull and Eduardo Paolozzi, whose work demonstrated a new anti-monumental, expressionist approach. Most of his works are recognizably human, but are sometimes joined with the forms of animals or furniture. By the 1960s he had begun working with wax, resin and aluminium; later he became interested in the combination of drawing and sculpture, experimenting with photographic, drawn and printed images of figures on three-dimensional surfaces. In the 1980s his subjects shifted from figure to nature and he created a series of sculptures and drawings of oak trees in Richmond Park, London. Armitage has exhibited worldwide and is recognised as one of the major British sculptors of the twentieth century.