Charles Sansbury

Sculptor and Artist

Chaarles Sansbury at Work

Charles Sansbury was a respected sculptor and artist based in the North-East of England. He was born in Watford in 1916, and by the time he was in his teens, painting was already an important part of his life.In 1943, under the Emergency Teacher scheme, he trained as an Art and Craft Teacher at Shoreditch Training College and taught in schools for fourteen years.

In 1957 he was granted leave of absence from Bedlington Grammar School and went to Kings College, Durham to read for a B.A. in Fine Art. Here he came under the influence of Victor Pasmore, who was then Master of Painting.Following a year of general art studies he concentrated on sculpture and began to work in metal. He learnt to weld and Swinneys Engineering Works in Morpeth, in order to make an armature for a large clay figure.

Whilst working there he found inspiration in the scrap metal bins. He became fascinated with assembling such material into new and evocative forms.

He found that his pieces of sculpture grew in unpredictable ways: some were variations on others, whilst some started simply from an enthusiasm for the shape of a piece of discarded metal. As his technique improved he began to cut and form his own shapes and was thus able to dictate to the material.

After he finished his degree he became a lecturer at Lincoln Diocesan Training College, now known as Bishop Grosseteste College, and whilst he was there designed the gates for the main entrance to the College. He also began work on a commission from Newcastle City Council for 480 unique miniature metal sculptures for the lift doors of the new Civic Centre.In 1964 he moved back to the north of England to work at Northumberland College of Education in Ponteland. He moved to Allendale where he had a large workshop at the back of his home. The following year he was again commissioned by Newcastle City Council, this time to make seven rise and fall portcullis screens, and later, to make a series of gas flambeaux for the main entrance area.

These commissions were followed by others in various parts of the country, but as well as doing his own work he wanted to create work for local people. For several years he ran a small workshop, ‘Mithras’ in his studio as well as a craft shop next door. Many of the small mild steel pieces made in the workshop were sold in the shop. His own, domestic sized sculptures were bought by people from many parts of the country.He exhibited in various galleries including; Lincoln Theatre Royal, the Moot Hall in Hexham the Caloustie Gulbenkian Gallery in Newcastle as well as the Art Galleries at Middlesborough and Billingham.


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