Collection Blog

Conservation | Frink’s Plaster Sculptures

January 9, 2024

The exhibition “Elisabeth Frink: A View from Within” presented a unique opportunity for the Museum to undertake the preservation and conservation of Elisabeth Frink’s original plaster sculptures, which were originally intended to be cast in bronze.

Several years after Frink’s death in 1993, these delicate plasters had been stored alongside various other objects in a warehouse. It was amidst the confusion and dusty conditions of this storage space that they were eventually discovered, carefully wrapped in blankets.

These remarkable sculptures offer us a glimpse into Frink’s artistic process and provide valuable insights into her creative mind. The exposed metal armatures, where sections of plaster have fallen away over time, reveal the inner workings of her sculptural techniques. The textured surfaces and additional materials incorporated by Frink during her work further enhance our understanding of her artistic vision.

In 2023, thanks to the generous support from The Finnis Scott Foundation through a grant, these invaluable pieces underwent meticulous conservation efforts led by Peter Martindale – an accredited conservator affiliated with ICON. The conservation work took place at the Collections Discovery Centre conservation studio located within Dorset Museum & Art Gallery. This deliberate choice allowed visitors to witness firsthand the ongoing progress made in preserving these significant artworks.

The comprehensive conservation process involved delicately repositioning the displaced ear of the Standing Horse sculpture back into its original position. Additionally, great care was taken to securely fix the front leg of Standing Dog into place – a task requiring precision and expertise. Furthermore, areas, where plaster loss had occurred, were meticulously restored using toning techniques that seamlessly blended with the surrounding surfaces.

While subtle, these restoration results have proven highly effective in reviving and stabilizing these exquisite sculptures. As a result, we are delighted to be able to exhibit many of these preserved artworks within a dedicated section that aims to recreate Frink’s studio atmosphere – an environment that played an integral role in shaping her artistic practice.

Moreover, with their newfound stability ensured through careful conservation efforts, these sculptures are now able to embark on tours to other prestigious venues. Notably, they will be showcased at the Swindon Museum & Art Gallery and The Salisbury Museum, allowing a wider audience to appreciate and engage with Frink’s remarkable artistic legacy.

Special Exhibition

2 December 2023 - 21 April 2024

Elisabeth Frink: A View from Within

Experience the inner world of famous sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) in a major new exhibition exploring her artistic and personal life in Dorset. Showcasing over 80  sculptures, drawings and prints, this exhibition will explore her artistic process, personal life, and the influences that shaped her work.

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Community Exhibition

2 December 2023 - 21 April 2024

Awakened by Frink

Awakened by Frink is a community exhibition of artwork by members of the Deaf community created during a series of workshops at Dorset Museum and Art Gallery.

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Temporary Display

3 February - 30 May 2024

John Brown in Dorchester: Rebuilding a Life after slavery

Discover the little-known story of John Brown, in this new showcase display outside the Collections Discovery Centre.

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FULLY BOOKED

17 April 2024, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Collections Discovery Centre Tour

Join our Collections Team for an opportunity to explore behind the scenes in the Museum’s Collections Discovery Centre.

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Storytelling

18 April 2024, 10:00am- 10:30am

Storytime at the Museum

Come and join us for fun-filled Storytime where you can listen to some amazing tales in our Community Space at the Museum.

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Lecture

18 April 2024, 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Traditions and Transitions: The Story of the Chettle Grave Group | Sophia Adams

A locally made wine strainer, an old mirror and a blue glass jar perhaps from Cologne. These are just three of the eight artefacts found in 2003, buried together on land within Chettle Park, Dorset.

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Dorset Museum Music Society

24 April 2024, 7:30pm

Yuanfan Yang, Pianist

Pianist and composer Yuanfan Yang, born in Edinburgh, is a First-Class Graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music in London. He has won numerous prizes at international piano competitions and has performed with prestigious orchestras worldwide. Yuanfan is also an accomplished composer, winning awards for his compositions. His debut album "Watercolour" received critical acclaim.

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Storytelling

2 May 2024, 10:00am- 10:30am

Storytime at the Museum

Come and join us for fun-filled Storytime where you can listen to some amazing tales in our Community Space at the Museum.

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Storytelling

16 May 2024, 10:00am- 10:30am

Storytime at the Museum

Come and join us for fun-filled Storytime where you can listen to some amazing tales in our Community Space at the Museum.

Find out more