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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Althea Kathleen Wynne (1936–2012)

Sculptor, mainly figurative, with a special interest in animal subjects. Wynne wrote: ‘My work is deeply influenced by my love of early classical sculpture, the calm poise and harmony of which I try to emulate. The Greeks also had an understanding of animals from which I draw some of my inspiration, and my equestrian subjects owe much to my love of riding.’ She trained at Farnham College of Art, 1953–55; Hammersmith School of Art, 1955–57; and the Royal College of Art, 1957–60, graduating as an Associate (ARCA). Despite a promising start – a commission from the London County Council in 1959 for a ciment fondu group entitled Swimmers for a London school and success in an open competition in 1960 to design the Topham Trophy for a race at Aintree – her life as a working sculptor came to a temporary halt, following her marriage in this latter year to Philip Dresman and the birth of two daughters (1961 and 1963) and a son (1966). Only once her maternal responsibilities eased did she return to work, initially as a teacher of art and art history, at Cranborne Chase School and St Mary’s School, Shaftesbury, 1975–88. In 1982, following her divorce from Dresman, Wynne married Antony Barrington Brown, a photographer, and resumed her activities as a sculptor, working from the couple’s home in Upton Lovell, Warminster, Wiltshire. In 1986 she became a Full Member of the Society of Equestrian Artists, and in 1990 and 1994 she was elected, respectively, an Associate and then a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. She was, by now, exhibiting widely in both solo and group exhibitions. Her public commissions include Doves Rising, a ciment fondu centrepiece for a fountain in Peace Park, Hounslow (1988, commissioned by the London Borough of Hounslow); The Minster Court Horses (later nicknamed ‘Sterling, Dollar and Yen’), a group in bronze for Minster Court, City of London (1989, commissioned by Prudential Portfolio Management Ltd); Family of Goats, bronze, Rotherhithe (1992, commissioned by the London Docklands Development Corporation); H for Hospital, Chilmark stone, a sculpture to mark the entrance to a new section of Salisbury District Hospital (1993, commissioned by Salisbury Health Authority); White Horses, a group in aluminium resin for the Caronia restaurant on the cruise ship, Queen Elizabeth 2 (1994, commissioned by the Cunard Steamship Company); The Endless Search, stoneware and glass-reinforced plastic, Newnham College, University of Cambridge (1995); The Family, bronze, for Walsall Manor Hospital maternity unit (1995, commissioned by Walsall Health Authority); Julius, a figure of a seated boy carved in stone, University of Reading (presented by members of the former Greenlands Association North West, 1998); and Chalk Columns, a group in plaster for Bluewater shopping centre, Greenhithe, Kent (1999, commissioned by LendLease Corporation Ltd). Wynne and her second husband were killed in a car crash in January 2012 on their journey home from a foundry where she had been discussing her latest commission, the Windsor Grey Horses, for Windsor Great Park; following her death, the commission passed to the sculptor Robert Rattray.

Bibliography: ArtParkS: ‘Althea Wynne’; D. Buckman, Artists in Britain since 1945 (2 vols: A–L, M–Z), Bristol, 2006; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, pp. 248, 249; G.T. Noszlopy and F. Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country, Liverpool, 2005, p. 179; P. Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of the City of London, Liverpool, 2003, p. 259; Wikipedia: ‘Althea Wynne’.

Terry Cavanagh, 2007; revised, July 2024