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Dame Elisabeth Jean Frink, CH, DBE, RA


Dame Elisabeth Jean Frink, CH, DBE, RA, is widely recognized as one of the most important post-war British sculptors. Although she made many drawings and prints, she is best known for her bronze outdoor sculptures. Her sculptures have a distinctive cut and worked surface created by adding plaster to an armature, which she then worked back into with a chisel and a surface-forming tool called a surform.

Born in Suffolk, England, Frink trained at both the Guildford School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art. She belonged to a post-war group of British sculptors known as the Geometry of Fear School, a loosely-knit group of sculptors who came to prominence at the 1952 Venice Biennale. Her subject matter throughout the years included men, birds, dogs, horses and religious motifs, but very seldom any female forms.

In 1982, a new publishing firm proposed a catalogue raisonné of all of her works, and the Royal Academy planned a retrospective of her life's work, which was eventually held in 1987 to great acclaim. Frink was troubled by health problems later in life but this never stopped her from continuing with her work. She exhibited frequently in the last days of her life and completed her final piece, a colossal statue called Risen Christ before losing her battle with cancer at the age of 62.