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Mabel Pakenham-Walsh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mabel Pakenham-Walsh
Portrait--Mabel Pakehham Walsh.jpg
The artist in 2012 with sculpture, Leg of Bont
Mabel Pakehham-Walsh

(1922-09-00)September 1922
Lancaster, England
Died19 August 2013(2013-08-19) (aged 75)
Known forSculpture, Painting, Drawing

Mabel Pakenham-Walsh (2 September 1937 − 19 August 2013)[1][2] was a British painter, sculptor and designer,[3] and pioneering female artist[citation needed] in post-war European figurative art. She worked in many mediums, but is particularly well known for her colourful wooden relief sculptures.[4] Her work was significantly influenced by primitive and outsider art, and created primarily from recycled materials,[1][3][5][6] earning her recognition as an early eco artist.[5]


Mabel Pakenham-Walsh was born in Lancaster, England,[7] the daughter of Robert Pakenham-Walsh,[8] a prominent psychiatrist.[1] Born with congenital hip dysplasia, she suffered lifelong physical disability; and in 1957, while a student at university, she was badly injured in a major car accident which compounded her disability.[5][4][6][7] Consequently, Pakenham-Walsh campaigned throughout her life for disability rights,[6] especially for children and youths, ultimately leaving a legacy with the Snowdon Trust to assist disabled students in future.[9] Pakenham-Walsh was active in the London arts scene throughout the 1960s and '70s, and befriended many significant figures, including Lord Snowdon, Frances Bond, Martin Leman, Maeve and Mervyn Peake, Wendy Ramshaw, and Tom Stoppard.[10][11] Pakenham-Walsh also taught woodcarving classes to Further Education students in Kent, England.[7] In the late 1970s she moved to  Aberystwyth, Wales, where she continued to create, and became a local legend and beloved eccentric.[1][12]


Pakenham-Walsh trained as an artist at Lancaster and Morecambe College of Arts and Crafts (1954–58) and Wimbledon College of Art (1958-59).[3][6] The writer and artist Mervyn Peake was an early mentor.[1]


From the beginning of her career, Pakenham-Walsh created drawings, paintings, and sculptures made almost exclusively from mundane and salvaged materials;[1][3][5][6] this unique strategy was borne of necessity as Pakenham-Walsh encountered "social barriers associated with being a female artist in the mid twentieth century, which made it difficult for her [...] to acquire raw materials for her art."[5][4] Pakenham-Walsh's first published artwork was in the early 1960s when her biro drawings appeared in the literary journal Transatlantic Review.[13][14] At that time, she was employed as a designer at Pinewood Studios, where she created set-pieces for major motion-pictures, including Cleopatra; she also worked as a sculptor at Shepperton Studios.[1][7][15][16] From 1965 to 1982, she exhibited at the Summer Exhibitions of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.[17][18] During this era, select London artists rejected abstraction and conceptualism to pursue "the depiction of the human figure and everyday landscape";[19] Pakenham-Walsh also sought to depict ordinary daily life, creating art that was both "playful and profound [to] invoke the deep time of human nature."[5] Pakenham-Walsh "exhibited widely in her lifetime in many art galleries and museums" worldwide.[1][16] Her work has been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and is held in numerous public and private collections, including: the National Library of Wales, the Ulster Museum, Aberystwyth University, and the UK Craft Council; the actor and art historian Vincent Price and the photographer Lord Snowdon also admired and collected her work.[4][16][20][21][22]

Selected solo exhibitions


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cambrian News Obituary". Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Mabel Pakenham-Walsh". WikiTree. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "School of Art collections biography". Aberystwyth University. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Telfer, Pete (Director); Briggs, Alice (Interviewer); Szinner, Christine (Research Intern) (2012). Mabel Pakenham-Walsh A Retrospective (video). Culture Colony. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Ceredigion Museum FaceBook page". Ceredigion Museum. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e Evans, Stuart (15 September 2013). "Mabel Pakenham-Walsh obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e McNicholls, Julie (2 February 2006). "I cheated death five times..." Cambrian News. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Historical record". MyHeritage. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  9. ^ "2012 Annual Review" (PDF). Snowdon Trust. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Mabel Pakenham-Walsh Papers". National Library of Wales. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Mabel Pakenham-Walsh Papers". National Library of Wales. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Remembering Mabel Pakenham-Walsh". Letter from Aberystwyth. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  13. ^ "The Transatlantic Review No. 11, Notes on Contributors". JSTOR 41512113 – via JSTOR.
  14. ^ "The Transatlantic Review No. 12, Notes on Contributors". JSTOR 41514022 – via JSTOR.
  15. ^ "Mabel Pakenham-Walsh Papers". The National Library of Wales. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  16. ^ a b c Davies, Clive (1 January 1982). "Woodcarving in Coalshed Brings Fame". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Royal Academy Exhibitors, 1905—1970 Vol. 5". The Getty Research Center: EP Publishing Limited. 1981.
  18. ^ "Royal Academy Exhibitors, 1971—1989". The Getty Research Center: Hilmarton Manor Press. 1989.
  19. ^ Brooks, Julian; Potts, Timothy (2016). "London Calling". Getty Publications. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  20. ^ "Ten To One author interview - Yasmin Ali". Good Reads. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  21. ^ "Mabel Pakenham-Walsh". Aberystwyth University. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  22. ^ "Crafts Council Collections". Crafts Council. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Mabel Pakenham-Walsh: painted wood carvings and paintings". Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  24. ^ Williams, Norman (23 February 2012). "Mabel has a Retrospective". Cambrian News. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Celebrated artist and storyteller". BBC Cymru Fyw. Retrieved 13 August 2016.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 May 2019, at 00:17
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