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Lectern Eagle, by Elisabeth Frink

A display of strength and courage, not aggression

Frink was just 28 at the time and this was her first major commission. A sculpture that would sit alongside works by major, established artists such as John Piper, Jacob Epstein and Graham Sutherland, would have tested the nerve of many a young artist. Frink held hers, depicting an eagle of strength and courage, not aggression.

Sir Basil Spence had commissioned Elisabeth Frink to create the eagle. He later said "One of the last things to be designed was the pulpit and the lectern … the lectern had to have a traditional Eagle. Elisabeth Frink, that gifted sculptress, was to my mind an obvious choice. She designed and carried out a magnificent bird which looks as if it has just settled there after a long flight. She modelled direct in plaster and, by inserting ordinary kindling in the standard six-inch lengths, gave the effect of feathers. These can easily be seen in the bronze casting" (S. Gardiner, Elisabeth Frink, London, 1998, pp. 82, 111-112).

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