Elisabeth Frink and Music

by Hope Francis, researcher

Puccini, Bach, Schoenberg, Mozart and Albinoni were among those found in Frink’s extensive collection of classical music. She started to listen to classical music seriously as a young artist in London, encouraged by the sculptor Jacob Epstein. Epstein would hold evening concerts of musicians and quartets from all over the world at his home and studio at Hyde Park Gate, and Frink was nearly always invited. Frink later described the importance of these evenings with Epstein, saying that ‘for a young artist it was the most amazing experience, to listen to good music, to be able to talk to him and wander around his studio’.

Frink had Jazz records from Ella Fitzgerald, Stéphane Grappelli and Fats Waller amid the Wagner, Kodály and Debussy, and frequented Jazz bars whilst studying at the Chelsea School of Art. She herself stated that she “led rather a life. We used to go to Jazz clubs, dance all night, sleep a little bit and go to art school for half-past night”. Her friend Jonathan Adams (a jazz pianist) is credited in her biography by Stephen Gardiner with helping Frink come out of her shell, as she was very shy in her youth.


Other genres appear too, such as albums from Portuguese Fado singer Amália Rodrigues. Nevertheless, most of her records, tapes and CDs show a love of classical music that continued from those evenings with Jacob Epstein to her final years at Woolland.

As can be seen in the image of her studio sink above. Frink would often graffiti the name of music and musicians she enjoyed listening to at the time. Schubert can be seen prominently in red as well as Ravel. Her enjoyment forever immortalised within the stone.

At Messums we have put together a Spotify Playlist of all the music found at Frink’s studio.


Elisabeth Frink Spotify Playlist


Image (top): The Frink Studio at Messums West in 2019



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