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Edward James and Salvador Dalí

You may have heard of Salvador Dalí's Mae West Lips Sofa and Lobster Telephone, but not many know that these iconic designs of the twentieth century were created in collaboration with Edward James.

Edward inherited the West Dean Estate in 1907, and when he came of age in the 1920s, he began investing his money and time in supporting artists, craftspeople, dancers and poets.

His excitement by all aspects of the arts, his determination to push the boundaries by investing in artists - not art per se, brought him into contact with many of the greatest artists of the period.

His patronage of and collaboration with many emerging talents in the 1930s and 1940s, included Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, René Magritte and Salvador Dalí.

Lobster Telephone(also known as Aphrodisiac Telephone) was created by Salvador Dalí and Edwrad Jamesin 1936 . The piece is a composite of an ordinary working telephone and a lobster (made of plaster). It is approximately 15 × 30 × 17 cm (6 × 12 × 6.6 inches) in size.

Four copies of the full colour object were made. One now appears at the Dalí Universe in London; the second can be found at the Museum of Telecommunication in Frankfurt; the third is at the National Gallery of Australia and the final one is at West Dean. Six all-white versions were also produced.

The following year they collaborated on the Mae West Lips Sofa (1937). Modelled on the lipsof actress Mae West, whom Dalí apparently found fascinating. It measures 86.5 x 183 x 81.5 cm.

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Find us - West Dean aerial view

West Dean College and Gardens are situated in South East England, six miles north of the historic city of Chichester and 12 miles from the south coast.

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Salvador Dalí