ABOUT JOHN SKELTON

John Stephen Skelton MBE (8th July 1923 – 26th November 1999) was a British sculptor and letter cutter whose work embraced a range of disciplines including design, drawing, heraldry, calligraphy, woodcarving, metalwork and watercolours.

Skelton was a nephew of Eric Gill and was first apprenticed to his uncle shortly before Gill's death in 1940. He continued his training under Joseph Cribb, Gill's assistant, until conscripted for the war. 

It was in 1950 that he started his own workshop in Burgess Hill, Sussex. Throughout the 1950s commissions were primarily for churches, schools and a few private clients. His style was in the Eric Gill mode – sinuous hair on sculptures and fine Roman capitals in lettering. 

Water Girl was the first sculpture John made, in walnut.

In 1993 he mounted a successful retrospective exhibition to celebrate his 70th birthday. The following year was to be his most productive to date. But thereafter he suffered increasing ill health and died in November 1999.

John Skelton's work practices and philosophy continue with his daughter Helen Mary at Skelton Workshops.   www.skeltonworkshops.co.uk.

By the early 1960s a steady increase of commissions started arriving and he felt able to express himself more freely and experimented with new materials such as copper and fibreglass. He also acquired silversmithing skills, which resulted in him making a crozier.

 

John began in earnest to create sculpture reflecting his own beliefs and emotions, experimenting with form and abstraction. Sales, commissions and exhibitions followed. 

In 1989 he was awarded the MBE for services to the Arts in the New Year Honours List and began a year's 'Artist in residence' at Bishop Otter College, Chichester.

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