Breathing New Life – The Elisabeth Frink Woolland studio reimagined

Marking the 30th anniversary of Elisabeth Frink’s death in 1993, aged 62, this presentation at Messums London continues the legacy and ongoing reappraisal of one of the twentieth century’s most significant sculptors. It acknowledges her enduring impact on artists through to contemporary generations, particularly informing and inspiring a growing number of female artists interested in exploring the power of narratives within the sculpted form.

In keeping with the emphasis at Messums of ‘making as dialogue’ Frink’s Woolland studio, which was rescued from collapse and revived as an exhibition space in 2019, will now be reimagined for the first time in Cork Street. The representation of her working studio and ephemera will open the mind and curiosity around the making process in plaster that underpins Frink’s working practice. Bronze sculptures by the artist will be presented within the context of her original studio environment while the space will offer the backdrop for her legacy to be explored.

Frink graduated from Chelsea School of Art in London in 1953, eighty years ago. During her first solo exhibition in 1952 at London’s Beaux Arts Gallery, the Tate purchased ‘Bird’, a deeply textured, angular and foreboding piece that encapsulated the horrors of war. This was a defining moment for her career and reputation. Her expressive work continued its progression during the 1960s when she furthered her fascination with the human form evidenced through a series of falling figures and winged men, later followed by the threatening monumental ‘goggled heads’.

In 1969 Frink was awarded a CBE and in 1971 she was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy. During the decade of 1982-1992 she was awarded a DBE, had a solo exhibition at the Royal Academy and was awarded a Companion of Honour. She is especially well known for her public commissions, for example ‘Risen Christ’ in Liverpool Cathedral, installed a week before she sadly died from throat cancer in 1993.

Frink’s blue door studio was once at the heart of her creative process. Her artistic context resides within the studio and this exhibition celebrates her legacy.


Visit our online The Messums Frink Archive


Available artwork


Elisabeth Frink

[ 1930
- 1993 ]
Born in Thurlow, Suffolk, Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) trained at Guildford School of Art (1947-49), and at Chelsea School of Art (1949-1952) under Bernard Meadows and Willi Soukop. These studies, combined with visits to Paris that acquainted her with Giacometti and the works of Rodin, culminated in Frink’s first major exhibition at the Beaux Art Gallery in 1952.

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