Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-93) is best known for her sculpture who trained under Bernard Meadows was influenced by Henry Moore and Giacometti. She was also very keen on the work of Sir Jacob Epstein. Her early work was done just after the war and it is clear that this expresses to some extent the horror of war itself. The sculpture is angular and scary; it expresses the fear of a child that has been subjected to aerial bombardment. The bird effigies are also those of which express the rigid terror visited from the sky whether from Luftwaffe attack or from V-Weapons. Small surprise that her work belonged to a group which became widely known as the Geometry of Fear school – this included Reg Butler, Bernard Meadows, Kenneth Armitage and Eduardo Paolozzi.
Her sculpture is very well known but her prints and drawings are also impressive. There is an endearing 1981 You-Tube clip which shows a rather reticent St John-Stevas conducting an interview with Elisabeth Frink at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXNSsq0cklk and there is another interesting clip on a poster for Antony and Cleopatra at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQIH3FODbRA
The combat scene in the image below illustrates a continuous theme in Frink’s work which deals with classical themes from antiquity. These sometimes reflect her interest shown in her sculptures in the male form. The grey image is actually a wool tapestry weave for furnishing purposes first exhibited in 1961.
The colour etching of Antony and Cleopatra was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company for a performance in 1982 at The Other Place. Antony was played by Michael Gambon and Cleopatra by Helen Mirren. The engaging etching was produced in a series of 213 and portrays the interpretation appropriate to the style of these actors.
Two other interesting websites showing this aspect of her work may be found at http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/elisabeth%20frink and of course at the Tate http://www.tate.org.uk/search/Frink