Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)
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Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)


Dame Elisabeth Frink, R.A. (1930-1993)
signed and numbered 'Frink 6/6' (on the reverse)
bronze with a dark brown patina
30½ in. (77.5 cm.) high
Conceived in 1983.
Purchased from the artist by the present owner in 1990.
B. Robertson, Elisabeth Frink Sculpture Catalogue Raisonné, Salisbury, pp. 96, 97, 198, no. 278, another cast illustrated.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

This sculpture was commissioned for All Saints' Church, Basingstoke in 1983. The commissioned cast sits on a plinth above the six-sided font in the Baptistry. Christ's closed eyes suggest contemplation, the lines below the forehead the humanity of Christ, and the smooth pyramidical forehead His divinity; the overall communicating strength, nobility and pain.

Another cast of this work was displayed during the artist's funeral and memorial service in 1993.

Frink's work with its dignity and truthfulness lends itself to the depiction of religious art, and her heads with their humanity and universal quality, particularly so. Edward Lucie-Smith has commented on the many religious commissions that Frink undertook that although 'she had severed her connections with organised religion, she was still essentially a believer, and the iconography of the Christian faith remained meaningful for her. In particular, she was able to assimilate her own feeling for heroic male figures with the image of the crucified or risen Christ. Her last major commission, the Risen Christ for Liverpool, certainly had deep personal significance'.

Speaking before her death in 1993, Frink herself stated 'Church commissions are different from other public commissions. During my own career I've done a lot of work for churches ... One of my earliest church pieces is the Eagle Lectern for Coventry [Cathedral, in 1962], but that wasn't specifically religious ... After that I did a very big Crucifixion for a Catholic church in Belfast [St Bernadette's Roman Catholic Church, 1964], a standing figure. It's very simple, almost two-dimensional because it has to be carried in procession. The idea of Christ as a cross, with nothing attached: I love that idea. At about the same time - 1964 - I did another big Christ for a Catholic church in Solihull [Our Lady of the Wayside, Solihull], a Risen Christ, the predecessor of the one I'm doing now. I also did a head of Christ I rather like for a church in Basingstoke, a very comtemplative piece [the present work] ... What I really enjoy, however, is doing Crucifixions and figures of Christ. It's an enormous challenge, doing something which has already been done so often in the last two thousand years. There are already so many different interpretations, yet one goes into it thinking that one might possibly find another aspect' (see E. Lucie-Smith, Frink A Portrait, London, 1994, p. 113).

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