Elisabeth Frink

Elisabeth Frink with <i>Dying King</i>, Fleming Close studio, Winterton Place, London (1954-65).
Elisabeth Frink with Dying King, Fleming Close studio, Winterton Place, London (1954-65). © The executors of the Elisabeth Frink Estate and Archive. Courtesy of The Frink Archive, Dorset History Centre. Image not licensed for reuse


Elisabeth Frink

Elisabeth Frink was a sculptor, watercolourist and printmaker. She is famous for her large, bronze sculptures such as Dying King (1963), Horse and Rider (1974), and Paternoster (1975), and for her series of ‘goggle heads’ – threatening male busts whose eyes are concealed by polished goggles. Drawing was central to Frink’s process, as can be seen in this photograph which shows her creating Dying King in the studio. Recurrent themes in Frink’s work include running men, horses and birds. Among her contemporaries were Kenneth Armitage, Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, Geoffrey Clarke, Bernard Meadows, and 
Eduardo Paolozzi.

Exhibitions of Elisabeth Frink’s work include St George’s Gallery (1955), Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York (1959), the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (1983), The Royal Academy of Arts (1985), the Jerwood Sculpture Park (2000), The Lightbox Woking (2013) and the Djanogly Gallery (2015 – 2016). Her work is held in major collections including Tate, Arts Council, British Museum, Royal Academy of Arts, Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Whitworth Gallery, and Museum of Modern Art, New York. Among her public commissions was the memorial to Alcock and Brown (1964) for Manchester airport. Alcock and Brown made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1919.

Elisabeth Frink was appointed CBE in 1969, elected Royal Academician in 1997, and appointed DBE in 1982. In 1992 she was recorded by Sarah Kent for Artists’ Lives. Her life story can be heard on the British Library Sounds website. A written summary is available on the British Library’s Sound and Moving Image Catalogue.

Biography and education

Elisabeth Frink was born on 14 November 1930 in Suffolk, England. During World War II her family was evacuated to Devon. She studied at Guildford School of Art from 1947 – 1949 under Trevor Tennant and Harry Phillips, and at Chelsea School of Art from 1949 – 1953 under Willi Soukop and Bernard Meadows.

Elisabeth Frink died on 18 April 1993 in Dorset, England, aged 62. The Frink Archive is held at the Dorset History Centre.

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