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Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

Frances Segelman (born 1949)

Frances Segelman is a sculptor.

Self-taught Frances Segelman was born and brought up in Leeds. Her family owned a chain of cinemas, including the Empire in Rawdon and the Forum on Chapeltown Road. At age 14, whilst at Gateways School, Harewood, Leeds she was spotted by a modelling agency and started doing professional modelling. She moved to London and took up sculpting as a hobby.

She has sculpted a wide variety of public figures including Billy Bremner outside Elland Road for Leeds United; the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, and the actors Joanna Lumley and Sir Derek Jacobi.

She is famous for her ‘speed sculpting’ producing many of her works within a two-hour timeframe, and sometimes in front of a live audience (see supporting links).

Segelman said,
‘The Queen was very chatty – in fact too chatty because when you have only an hour and a half to do the work, you savour the time. You know it’s wonderful to be with her, but on the other hand, you have to produce something’


Photo of statue of Billy Bremner outside Leeds United football ground. The statue has his arms raised and is made of bronze. A small boy in a white Leeds United kit sits in front of the statue.
Statue of Billy Bremner by Frances Segelman

Look closely at the statue above of Billy Bremner outside Elland Road. Look at the expression and the way that the figure is holding up his arms. Think about what the artist was saying about Billy Bremner. How did she want to portray him? Think about a person that you would like to sculpt. What would you say to them whilst working? How would you feel about meeting them (if you don’t know them already)? How would you like to portray them? How would they like to be portrayed?

On creating Billy Bremner, Francis said:

‘As a sculptor there can be very few things more rewarding than seeing your work in the heart of the community’

What is meant by ‘self taught’. How does this differ from other artists that you might have studied? Do you think being self taught has had an influence on the way Segelman works?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of ‘speed sculpting’? How does this technique differ from other sculptors that you may have studied? Can you think of any other artists, possibly painters, who work very quickly? How does this impact on the work that they do?