Famed sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink’s work will be showcased in Dorset in a first of its kind exhibition.

The Dorset Museum will have on display more than 80 sculptures, drawings and prints from the artist's collection in an exhibition dedicated to her time spent in the county.

It comes 30 years after her death, and will also include some working plasters that helped to inform the bronze sculptures – that have never been displayed to the public before.

Dorset Echo: Elisabeth Frink working on the Dorset Martyr groupElisabeth Frink working on the Dorset Martyr group (Image: Anthony Marshall/Courtesy of Dorset History Centre.)

Dame Elisabeth produced more than 400 sculptures during her illustrious career, a significant part of which was produced at her Woolland studio in Dorset between 1976 and 1993.

As part of this new exhibition, her Dorset studio will be recreated featuring her tools and the working plasters that formed the basis of some of her most well-known bronze sculptures, giving visitors a unique opportunity to step inside and see how one of Britain’s foremost artists worked.

As well as understanding her artistic process, visitors will get a chance to explore the influence of her private Dorset life, with a selection of personal possessions on display including letters and photographs.

Dorset Echo: Elisabeth Frink’s paint boxElisabeth Frink’s paint box (Image: Dorset Museum)

Elizabeth Selby, director of collections and public engagement at Dorset Museum, said: “Elisabeth Frink was an extraordinary artist who explored what it meant to be human through her work.

“This exhibition will portray Frink in a more intimate light, revealing her inner world and the major themes she explored in her sculpture, prints and drawings.

“We are thrilled to be able to display more of the works we acquired from the Elisabeth Frink Estate in 2020, and explore Frink’s connections with Dorset, where she lived and worked from 1976 until her death in 1993.”

Dorset Museum received more than 300 works from the Frink Estate as part of the dying wishes of her son, Lin Jannet. They were gifted 31 bronze sculptures, more than 100 prints and drawings along with several original plaster sculptures, studio tools and equipment.

Works for the exhibition will be drawn from this collection, as well as from the Frink Archive at the Dorset History Centre, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art.

Dorset Echo: Green Man (Blue) by Elisabeth FrinkGreen Man (Blue) by Elisabeth Frink (Image: Dorset Museum)

The museum is also hoping the exhibition can help to boost the amount of people visiting. 

Dorset Museum’s executive director, Claire Dixon, said “The museum was transformed by a multi-million-pound extension, but we now need to engage with enough visitors to ensure its survival, as the museum has struggled to recover from the impact of the pandemic and more recent cost of living crisis. 

“Exhibitions like this form a crucial part of my vision for a sustainable future for the museum, encouraging repeat visits and providing access to exceptional collections and stories that relate to Dorset but also have wider connections that make them relevant to all.”

Elisabeth Frink: A View from Within is curated by Lucy Johnston, exhibition manager at Dorset Museum and Annette Ratuszniak, former curator of the Elisabeth Frink Estate. Research assistance has been provided by Pippa Davies.

It is on from December 2, 2023 to April 21, 2024 at the Dorset Museum on High West St in Dorchester