Sculptor and draughtsman Henri Gaudier was born in Saint-Jean-de Braye, near Orléans in France on 4 October 1891. At the age of fourteen he made his first visit to England, studying in Bristol on a fellowship. Afterwards, he moved to Germany and then Paris, where he began to sculpt. In 1911 he returned to London accompanied by the Polish writer Sophie Brzeska, who was twenty years his senior, adding her surname to his. By 1913 Gaudier-Brzeska was part of a progressive circle which included T E Hulme, Ezra Pound and Jacob Epstein, becoming a founder member of The London Group, as well as a member of the Vorticists and publishing work in their journal "Blast". He also had a close friendship with artists Horace Brodzky and Alfred Wolmark, both of whom he sculpted. His sculptures, predominantly of the human head, figures and animals, closely based on observations from nature, increasingly became radically simplified and geometrical. In 1915 he volunteered for the army, sending Edward Wadsworth drawings from the trenches for inclusion in the London Group exhibition.

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska died in action on 5 June in Neuville-Saint-Vaast, France at the age of 24. His work is extensively represented in UK collections, particularly Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, which holds the bulk of his estate as well as the Ben Uri Collection, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Tate, The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art and the University of Hull.