Research and Notes on the Sculptors Elizabeth Frink and Nicola Hicks

  • Both female sculptors whose work is exhibited at Dean’s Court.
  • Frink acted as Hicks’ mentor in her early career – this can be used in the play as a link between scenes and device for talking about their work
  • Both will appear in the play and where possible their own words will be used (about their own work and the other sculptress).

Nicola Hicks

  • Born in London in 1960.
  • Studied at the Chelsea School of Art from 1978 to 1982 and at the Royal College of Art from 1982 to 1985.
  • Animals are her primary subject matter, usually sculpted in straw and plaster. This was unusual for an artist in the 80s, by which time abstract sculpture and installation art had become the norms in the art world. Hicks also works on huge sheets of brown paper on which she works up her dynamic charcoal drawings. Many of the sculptures have subsequently been cast in bronze, often with such subtlety that every fragile detail of plaster and straw is reproduced.
  • Relationship with Elizabeth Frink:
    – recognised elements in Frink’s sculpture which she longed for in her own work, in particular Frink’s understanding of “the stuff of life”.
    – talent was recognized by Elisabeth Frink, who selected her for a solo exhibition “The Artist of the Day” at Angela Flowers Gallery in 1985 when she was only 24.
    – early encouragement from Elizabeth Frink reinforced Nicola Hicks’ determination to follow her chosen path.
    – Elizabeth Frink said of her, “For me Nicola Hicks is one of our most talent young sculptors, and also a most wonderful draughtsman.”
    – Hicks re-explored traditional methods of making and this was one of the reasons Elizabeth Frink was enthusiastic about her.

Elizabeth Frink (1931 – 1993)

  • influenced by the work of Rodin and Giacometti.
  • Commentary on her own work: Judas and Goggleheads sculptures exhibited at Dean’s Court
    “The early Judas is one of my most interesting pieces. With Judas I wanted to do this massive figure and I wanted a figure which was fending off some kind of betrayal. Judas is quite a strong figure but he also has a weakness about him. With his arm out, he’s making a gesture of invitation, yet fending you off at the same time. Also he’s blinded. It’s the first piece of sculpture I made with shades over the eyes and in that sense it leads on to Goggleheads. It’s a figure I’m deeply attached to because it marked a major change in my work. The Goggleheads are likenesses of stupid people – portraits of stupidity, cruelty and inhumanity, a statement on my part about the cruelty and stupidity of repressive regimes, and of the men who operated them.”


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