PHOTOGRAPHED IN MERRION SQUARE PARK
One of a series of four Tribute Heads, each of which was cast six times. The artist stated that these heads were: ‘a tribute to all people who have died or suffered for their beliefs. These men are heroes in the sense that they are survivors, but they are also victims stripped of everything but their human courage.’
Dame Elisabeth Jean Frink CH DBE RA (14 November 1930 – 18 April 1993) was an English sculptor and printmaker. Her Times obituary noted the three essential themes in her work as “the nature of Man; the ‘horseness’ of horses; and the divine in human form”.
Elisabeth Frink was born in November 1930 at her paternal grandparents’ home The Grange in Great Thurlow, a village and civil parish in the St Edmundsbury district of Suffolk, England. Her parents were Ralph Cuyler Frink and Jean Elisabeth (née Conway-Gordon). Captain Ralph Cuyler Frink, was a career officer in the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards and among the men of the cavalry regiment evacuated from Dunkirk in the early summer of 1940. She was raised in a catholic household.
The Second World War, which broke out shortly before Frink’s ninth birthday, provided context for some of her earliest artistic works. Growing up near a military airfield in Suffolk, she heard bombers returning from their internecine missions and on one occasion was forced to hide under a hedge to avoid the machine gun attack of a German fighter plane. Her early drawings, from the period before she attended arts school in London, have a powerful apocalyptic flavour: themes include wounded birds and falling men. During the course of the war Frink was evacuated with her mother and brother Tim to Exmouth, Devon where she attended Southlands Church of England School. When Southlands School was commandeered for the war effort in 1943 Frink became a full time pupil at The Convent of the Holy Family School.
Before Frink died in 1993, she had given master classes at the Sir Henry Doulton School of Sculpture then headed by sculptor Colin Melborne ARA in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Rosemary Barnett took over as principal of the Sir Henry Doulton School of Sculpture, Stoke-on-Trent, briefly before its closure. In 1990 she met Harry Everington there and their shared artistic outlook brought about the Frink School of Figurative Sculpture which opened in 1996 in Longton and closed in 2005 at Tunstall.
Permission from the Frink Estate was given to name a new school after her, because it was to continue the tradition which she represented. The Frink School of Figurative Sculpture opened in 1996, with an emphasis on sculptural form; it attempted to give some balance to the declining figurative training and increased conceptualism in sculpture schools in the UK.