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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Rosamund (Mary Beatrice) Fletcher (1908–1993)

Sculptor and letterer, born 5 August 1908 at Dorking, Surrey, the daughter of the painter, Blandford Fletcher (1858–1937). She studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, 1935–37, under Sydney Carline and Albert Rutherston, and at the Slade School of Fine Art, under Professor A.H. Gerrard, where she was awarded two Orpen Bursaries, the Charles Heath Clarke Bursary, and first prizes for sculpture and for lettering in stone.  She went on to study bronze casting under John Galizea at the Central School of Art, London, and plaster casting at Newcastle. In 1940, she gained the RBS Feodora Gleichen Memorial Fund award (for the three Hopton Wood stone panels she showed at the Royal Academy that year: Geese (no. 1547), The Fowls of the Air (1627) and Pax (no. 1632). She was a member of the Guild of Lettering (the first woman member) and became an Associate member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors (RBS) in 1945 and a Fellow in 1957 (council member 1946). In 1948 she won an Olympic Bronze Medal in the Art Section of the Olympiad held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, for her relief The End of the Covert (illustrated in The Monument Journal, July 1954, p. 418). She exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, 1938–65; Royal Scottish Academy, 1950–61; Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art, 1949–51; Guildhall Society of Women Artists; Royal Society of British Artists; and the Paris Salon. In 1979, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, mounted an exhibition of the work of Fletcher and her father, entitled ‘Father & daughter: Blandford Fletcher, painter; Rosamund Fletcher, sculptor’. Fletcher specialised in low relief, with occasional portraits and representations of animals and birds, but mostly religious subjects, usually in Portland stone or Hopton Wood stone. A devout Roman Catholic, her commissions include many pieces for Roman Catholic churches, convents and schools, including: for the courtyard of the Franciscan Convent, Bocking, Braintree, Essex, a stone bas-relief of St Francis (1953); for St Teresa of the Child Jesus Catholic Church, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, communion rails carved with symbols of the sacraments (1955) and a coloured relief of the Boy Jesus working with St Joseph (late 1950s); for Bishop Thomas Grant School, Streatham, London, a Portland stone figure of Christ the King (1959) and for St Thomas the Apostle College, Nunhead, London, a Portland stone relief figure of St Thomas the Apostle (1966), both pieces commissioned by the architect F.G. Broadbent; for the Holy Redeemer, Pershore, Worcestershire, a Stations of the Cross cycle; and for the Carmelite Monastery, Quidenham, Norfolk, a Stations of the Cross cycle and a carved Lady Chapel reredos of Carmelite saints. In 1988, she gifted two of her stone reliefs, The Storm (1940) and Scavengers of the Sea (1973) to the Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Penzance, Cornwall. Having spent most of her working life in Oxford, she retired to the Franciscan Convent at Bocking, where she died 18 February 1993.

Bibliography: J. Bentley and N. Pevsner, Essex (The Buildings of England), New Haven and London, (2007), 2010, p. 148; A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, Worcestershire (The Buildings of England), New Haven and London, (2007), 2018, p. 530; D. Buckman, Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945, Bristol, 1998; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 114, 244, 435–36; Commemorative Art, July 1964, pp. 185–92; Daily Telegraph, 16 March 1993, p. 21 (obit.); Maas Gallery, Rosamund Fletcher, 1975 (exhib. leaflet); Mapping Sculpture; Monumental Journal: (i) March 1959, p. 79; (ii) June 1959, p. 178; Olympedia; N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buckinghamshire (The Buildings of England), New Haven and London, 2003, pp. 112, 603–04; Royal Society of Sculptors: ‘Rosamund Mary Beatrice Fletcher FRBS’; St Teresa of the Child Jesus Catholic Church: ‘A brief history …’; Wikipedia: ‘Rosamund Fletcher.

Terry Cavanagh, April 2024