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Karen Newman MRSS


The advice, "change the light" continues to be a golden rule, given to me by a fellow portrait sculptor. I have been sculpting plein air, to achieve this, whenever I can.

The psychological content of the portrait, is of paramount importance to me - so it has some spark of that person's joys and tribulations, their inner world, but also their best aspect. It interests me to express some sense of their history where it's possible. 

Each move requires an assessment of the general mood, form, line and likeness. More correct isn't necessarily better. Sometimes a correction can obliterate some element that should be preserved. i try to learn the lesson of leaving well alone, but more often than not, succumb to changing what isn't working for me (and my clients). 

I hope to find a balance, between my thoughts and ability whilst endeavouring to make good sculpture, alongside the more universal requirements for a project. Whilst Id like to make a few decisive moves, to obtain the right result, it is inevitably a much more laboured process. I have always sought to establish quickly a likeness and feeling of that person in those first few days. It has been of primary importance to every work I have ever made. Although bone structure maybe should take precedence, I have more often put in place what I can see evidence of, (so often working from poor reference) and have then continued in a more intuitive way, to carry me along, reaching some anatomical understanding in conclusion. I have been a portrait sculptor from age 14 years. At age 15 onwards, I was commissioned to make portraits of family friends. I worked as a freelance portrait sculptor at Madame Tussauds for 21 years, making wax portrait figures of the illustrious, both historic and contemporary until 2001. My studio is in North London. 





Sir John Cass: Pre-Dip. at Chelsea School of Art: part time, City & Guilds Art School


Muswell Hill, North London


Clay, plastolene, plaster, resin, bronze resin, bronze, jesmonite


  • 1st prize for 1st portrait head at 14 yrs old. One week exhibiting the work at the Ben Uri Gallery

  • Numerous private commissions for portrait heads, starting from age 15 yrs 

  • 21 years of freelance portrait & portrait figure commissions at Madame Tussauds Museum London

  • Portrait bust of agent Violette Szabo GC for the SOE Agents

  • Monument,Albert Embankment, London, SE1

  • Dean William Vincent, half relief, portrait plaque, Vincent Square, London. SW1

  • Portrait bust of SOE Nancy Wake (maquette) for The Stafford Hotel, St.James Place London SW1

  • Portrait bust of SOE agent Noor Inayat Khan GC. Croix de Guerre. for Memorial to her, at Gordon Sq., Bloomsbury London

  • Portrait head of Dr Samir Eid, International Industrialist for bronze cast in atrium area, World wide


    • Wax portrait figures of Henry Moore & David Hockney, on extended loan, from Madame Tussauds, to the Royal College of Art collection, Kensington Gore London.

    • The wax figure of Henry Moore exhibited at Presence: The Art of Portrait Sculpture The Holburne Museum, Bath


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