Josefina de Vasconcellos – in Cartmel

Cartmel is a small village in South Cumbria, with it’s own racecourse, a large school and in places narrow winding streets in South Cumbria.

St Michael the Archangel battling his way through the jaws of the dragon.

The Priory at Cartmel was founded over 800 years ago by William Marshall, Baron of Cartmel, and Earl of Pembroke.

Amongst the wooden pews and warm welcome from the vicar and volunteers are a number of pieces of Art by the international sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos.

Daughter of a diplomat, she lived with her adopted sons and husband in Little Langdale for many years. She was awarded an MBE in 1985.

Josefina died in 2005 at 100, leaving behind fine examples of her work throughout the world.

A number of her works are on display within Cartmel Priory.

More of her works can be found within Cumbria in the following places.

St Bees

Josefina studied at the London Polytechnic, the Royal Academy Schools, in Paris under Antoine Bourdelle, and in Florence. 

Age 20, she gained her first large commission, to create many items including an alter in the Church of St Valerie at Varengeville, Normandy.

She was also a  gifted musician, composer, poet, dancer and inventor.

Heavily influenced by her experiences of two World Wars she is responsible for many works of remembrance.

At St Bees’ School a work called The Hand was commissioned in 1955.

A very tactile statue

A very tactile statue - They fled by night - Mary and Joseph and the Holy Child. Cartmel Priory.

They fled by night – Mary and Joseph and the Holy Child, is an ideal sculpture for children, or those with limited sight or mobility to engage with.   Being only a few feet high and made of solid resin bronze you can pass your hands over the work easily without risk of damage.

The latest work featured in The Priory is The Young Martyr.

The Martyr

The Young Martyr

Within the base of a solid stone plinth is a lighted candle in a red glass holder. Topping the sculpture is a head behind solid bars. 

On one of the sides are words carved into the stone. They are the names of the Martyrs of Cartmel from 1537

As part of the BBC Cumbria Telling Lives series Linda, a retired Civil Servant,  tells here story of meeting Josefina in 1990 and the resulting sculpture.

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