Press Release

My biography of the Yorkshire sculptor Frances Darlington (1880-1940) is due to be released on 9th November. 


Finding Frances – the biography of Frances Darlington (Sculptor) 

Published by The Marble Press

ISBN 978-0-9927373-0-6

Release date 9th November 2013


Frances Darlington (1880-1940) is now largely forgotten in the annals of Art History, yet she produced several public works of art, which for a woman working in sculpture, even today, is a remarkable achievement. Frances however, was working in the decades when women were fighting for the right to vote, she was born just two years before the Married Women’s Property Act legally allowed married women to keep their own earnings. 

Born in Headingley, Leeds, Frances went on to train at the Slade alongside some of the greats of twentieth century British Art. Among her contemporaries she counted Gwen and Augustus John, William Orpen and Edna Clarke Hall. Harold Gilman and Spencer Gore were key members of Sickert’s Camden Town group and the painting now held by Harrogate Museums and Galleries of Frances’ studio by her other contemporary at the Slade, Elise M.Bayley is redolent of their work. 

Frances was an exponent of the New Sculpture Movement, and trained under two of its key members, Sir George Frampton (Peter Pan, Kensington Gardens) and Edouard Lanteri, the man whom Rodin termed “Dear Master”. Frances returned to Yorkshire in 1901 with the riches of her training and proceeded to produce some of the most beautiful public works in Harrogate, namely the Biblical Panels in St. Wilfrid’s Church on Duchy Road, which she co-designed with its architect, Temple Moore and the Harrogate Theatre Frieze. In 1907 her busts of Andrew Carnegie and Robert Collyer adorned the entrance of Ilkley Library on its opening and in 1912 she produced the statue of Joseph Priestley for Birstall Market Square.

This book charts her development as a child, her family background, her training and her career, its triumphs and its demise. It examines her context and her influences, treading the path less travelled in focussing on her Christian spirituality and the feminism which she associated with it. It also examines her methodology of practise looking at her relationship with Pre-Raphaelite traditions that were being reassessed across Europe at the time by interpolated groups of artists and writers while Modernism was the rising tide. 

 Louise Marchal (b. 1972) is an artist and writer and has been researching Frances Darlington since she was seventeen alongside her grandmother Joan Wharram (1911-2004) who was Frances’ niece. The book therefore includes much from family correspondence and notes which have enabled Louise to build a clear chronology of the life events surrounding the production of Frances’ work. The book is fully illustrated with Frances’ own studio photographs of her work, along with contemporary photographs taken by the author. It is the first comprehensive survey of Frances Darlington’s work, much of which has now been lost from public view.

Louise studied History of Art for two years as part of a tripos towards her Honours degree in English Literature at the University of Glasgow (1995) and has two other Masters degrees in Fine Art and Curatorial Practice from the University of Sunderland. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and has built up a small body of work that reflects upon her research into Frances Darlington. An exhibition of this work continues for two weeks after the launch, please contact for further details.



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  1. Pingback: London Art Fair 2014 (15th-19th January) | the mutability cantos

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