Josefina de Vasconcellos


Josefina as a younger woman (from the cover of the book by Margaret Lewis)

'From the first I have been a simple communicator using plain form as Wordsworth used plain words ... but over the years, mystery has increased, like changes of weather over the fells.'

Josefina today, by Bernard Kunicki

Sculpture,' said art critic and curator Sir Alan Bowness, 'is one of the great arts of the twentieth century.' Very few women have been successful in this demanding sphere where craft, technology and artistic inspiration meet, but Josefina de Vasconcellos, who was born in England in 1904 and died, aged 100, in 2005, was one of that small group.

Still carving in stone into her nineties, she had a remarkable life and Dr Lewis's biography captures the rare qualities that supported her many ambitious projects. Versions of her best-known work Reconciliation now stand outside Coventry Cathedral, in the Hiroshima Peace Park, at the site of the Berlin Wall and in the grounds of Stormont Castle, Belfast. Many of her other works are in churches, cathedrals and private homes throughout the UK and overseas.

Josefina de Vasconcellos, Her Life and Art (Flambard, 2002) contains thirty-two pages of photographs from a unique collection, covering student days in London, Paris and Florence, as well as life with her husband, painter Delmar Banner, in Cumbria. Other visual material illustrates the text.

Students of art history in the twentieth century will find Josefina's experiences fascinating, as will those who admire a rare example of courage and determination in a visionary woman.

Photograph of Margaret Lewis, copyright University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

On other pages:

Dr Margaret Lewis wrote the authorised biography of the crime writer Ngaio Marsh (Chatto and Windus, 1991) and a critical biography of Ellis Peters (Seren, 1994,2003). She has taught English Literature and Creative Writing to undergraduates, adults, Open University students and writing groups. She worked closely with Josefina in writing the book Josefina de Vasconcellos, Her Life and Art

A list of other internet resources about Josefina

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