'Maternity' demonstrates the increasing confidence in Llew Summers' modelling of human form. John Newton has written "[t]he figure represents, not a strictly lifelike person, but a set of idealised maternal values: nurture, foundation, protection, solidity, calm.”
Completed in 1977, Summers initially hoped Christchurch City Council would purchase the piece. When the Council failed to respond Summers took the step of depositing the sculpture in Cathedral Square. The work stayed for two months and caused a furore of criticism.
Subsequently the Upper Hutt Arts Festival 1979, dedicated to the ‘Year of the Child’ and organised by Tony Ryan (Summers' brother-in-law), decided Llew’s work was thematically appropriate. The Upper Hutt Council agreed to pay $2500 for the work and it was trained from Christchurch to Upper Hutt.
~ Cited from John Newton. Llew Summers : Body and Soul. Canterbury University Press 2020.