STRACEY, Rosalind

1907 - 2005

Rosalind Stracey as a girl

Margaret Rosalind Linley Stracey, was born just off Manchester Square in London on 8 October 1907, the second, and only daughter, of the three children of Sir Edward Paulet Stracey (1871-1949), 7th Bart. who was High Sheriff of Norfolk, and his wife Mary Elizabeth née Sheridan, and their home was the imposing Rackheath Hall, just outside Norwich. Known as Rosalind Stracey, she was educated at Heathfield School at Ascot and spent her early life at Rackheath. During the Second World War she served as an ambulance driver in the Mechanised Transport Corps and later worked in the American Office of War Information and from 1945 spent two years in the United States. After which, at the age of almost 40, attended Chelsea School of Art, where, alongside 18-year-old Elisabeth Frink [q.v.] who remained a friend until her death, studied under Bernard Meadows (1915-2005) and Germaine Richier (1902-1959) and developed a distinctive style, working in bronze, often on small human or animal figures. Her greatest debt as an artist, was to Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) who was to imbue bronze, a sometimes cold medium, with warmth, poetry and a heartbeat into her work. After her marriage to Major Peter Harris in 1959, the couple lived at Surlingham, near Norwich, but Stracey already had her own studio at Walberswick on the Suffolk coast and was a member and exhibitor at the Norfolk & Norwich Art Circle 1952-1957 from Norwich and Walberswick. Her reputation grew steadily and her work was shown at the Royal Academy in 1955, the Royal Institute Gallery in 1960, and is in various national collections. Rosalind exhibited sparingly but her London and regional shows became more frequent after the death of her husband in 1976. There were public commissions, her 1963 bas-relief decorates the gateway to St Luke's Estate in Chelsea. Her skeletal, elongated, impressionistic figures attracted the attention of her near neighbour, the maverick art dealer Iris Mary [Lilla] Birtwistle (1918-2006), who represented Stracey for 45 years, first in her Walberswick gallery and later at Deepdale Exhibitions, her caravan gallery in north Norfolk. Rosalind carried on working in her Chelsea studio, off the Kings Road, until she was 90 and died on 23 November 2005.

Works by This Artist