Personal and Public Works

Madame Tussauds

Bronze Casting

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Karen Newman, Sculptor


Born and working in London.

La Sagesse convent until 11yrs old.
The Convent of the Sacred Heart. Whetstone, North London.

While still at school I attended the Sir John Cass School of Art at weekends from the age of 14 -17. Painting with a knife appealed to me most, using increasingly more paint. I soon discovered the life-modelling class, which reinforced my instinct towards the sculpting medium. My first head won 1st prize in an exhibition of children's art in Hampstead. This head was then exhibited for a week at the Ben Uri Gallery, Dean Street London.

I then attended Chelsea School of Art for a Pre-Diploma year 1969-1970.

I went to the City and Guilds Art School in Kennington, London for two days a week. 1970-1972.

From the age of fifteen I had started to undertake commissioned portrait heads:

  • Mr Jack Maxwell (future owner of the Halle Orchestra). 1966 Bronze.
  • Mrs A Maiman 1967 Bronze
  • Mr Max Weldon. Circa 1967. Bronze head and another in 1977. Bronze.
  • 2 children's heads Bronze circa 1970
  • Mr. Eric Wilkins 1971 (Chairman of the Barbican Arts Centre committee) A one and a half times life-size portrait, in bronze. Shown at the Guildhall for some years.
  • WH Auden. Purchased by the Barbican Arts Centre Bronze 1977
  • Roger Daltrey (lead singer of 'The Who') Bronze. Shown at The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)1978.
  • Sir Maxwell Joseph. Circa 1982. Bronze
    (Then Chairman of Grand Metropolitan Hotels)

From 1980, Madame Tussauds, the wax museum in London, invited me to work as a freelance sculptor. I was there for 21 years. Among my distinguished sitters were:

  • HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
  • The late ex-Prime Minister Harold Wilson
  • The Duchess of York
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Eric Clapton
  • Sir Bob Geldof
  • Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • The late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin
  • Jeroen Krabbe. Dutch film actor, painter.
  • Chancellor Helmut Kohl
  • Jean-Paul Gaultier
  • Yoko Ono
  • Charles Dance
  • Hugh Grant
  • Billy Connolly

My life-size figure of Charlie Chaplin ( for Tussauds ) was shown at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in the early 1980's.

Past Works

2013 In May, 2013 I showed a resin cast of the Noor portrait at the SPS Annual Show and won a Commendation for the portrait.

November 2012. HRH The Princess Royal, unveiled my Bronze portrait bust of Noor Inayat Khan GC, Croix de Guerre for the Memorial to her, in Gordon Square, attended by some of Noor's family, Veterans. press and TV from around the World.

2012 In May, 2012, I restored the Henry Moore wax portrait figure, originally made for Madame Tussauds in 1995. This figure was shown at The Holburne Museum in Bath, UK. as part of their exhibition 'Presence. The Art of Portrait Sculpture', in September 2012. This figure and my waxwork of Sir David Hockney, have been on extended loan to The Royal College of Art, for many years.

2011 Commissioned by The Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust to produce a portrait bust of Noor Inayat Khan GC., MBE., Croix de Guerre. Noor was a World War II, SOE wireless operator, dropped into occupied Paris in 1944. She was captured, imprisoned and tortured, by the Gestapo. She revealed nothing. The bust is to be sited in Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, Central London.

2010 Commissioned by the Vincent Square Residents' Association to create a terracotta half relief, oval plaque of William Vincent, Headmaster of Westminster School and later Dean of Westminster Abbey. It was unveiled by the current Dean of Westminster Abbey, the current Headmaster of Westminster School, and the Deputy Mayor of Westminster.

2008 Completion of the Charles Dance portrait, having worked on this for several years intermittently. I worked from life and a series of photos. Although not a commission, Charles patiently and generously gave me quite a few sittings.

2008 Violette Szabo installed on The Albert Embankment of the River Thames, outside Lambeth Palace, facing The Houses of Parliament.

2008 Commissioned to produce two bronze casts of the Nancy Wake maquette. The first has been installed at The Stafford hotel St. James's Place London SW1.

2008 Showed the bronze resin cast of Charles Dance at SPS Cork Street London W1.

2007 Bronze Resin cast of Violette Szabo shown at The Society of Portrait Sculptors annual exhibition, Cork Street London W1, and the Bronze Resin original of the Nancy Wake maquette.

2006-2007 Produced maquette of Australian, SOE Resistance fighter, Nancy Wake. Shown Cork Street SPS 2007.

2005 May 2nd-14th. Small Female Torso at the Society of Portrait Sculptors annual show Cork Street, London.

2004 Wax portrait figures of Henry Moore and David Hockney, made for Madame Tussauds, in more recent years requested by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling to be on extended or permanent loan to the Royal College of Art. The finished Henry Moore clay featured on the front cover of the Royal British Society of Sculptors magazine 1994.

2004 Commission to produce portrait bronze of 11yr old Harry Mathews. Shown at Cork Street, Society of Portrait Sculptors annual show 2006.

2003 Commission to produce a one and a half times life-size portrait bust of World War ll heroine Violette Szabo. For an exterior site in central London.

2003 Commission to produce a portrait bronze of 18yr old Becky, sister of Emilie. Bronze.

2002 Mother and baby, bronze Dolphins commissioned for a house in Brussels. They are mounted on Belgian fossil stone, suggesting the seabed. (Edition of 9)

2002 Bronze portraits of a child 'Vivien' (edition of 5) and a young woman 'Emilie'. Both were shown at 28 Cork Street, May 2003.

2002 May. A small nude study shown at the SPS Cork Street.

2002 Marlin Fitzwater. (Formerly Press Secretary to Presidents Reagan and George Bush Senior) Bronze portrait bust of him for a school in New Hampshire.

2002. Private commission for an Art Deco style figure of a diver. Edition of 9 casts. Bronze.

In September 2001 and at Easter 2002, I presented two, three day workshops in portrait sculpture at The Royal British Society of Sculptors for adult students.

Autumn of 2000 I made the portrait of Mr Eric Hinds in bronze. It was selected for the SPS show in Cork Street the following May.

January 2000 invited to conduct a masterclass in portrait sculpture at the Hong Kong School for the Performing Arts.

1997 A portrait bust in bronze of Mr Phillip Joseph (founder of 'Books Etc.'). It was shown, to particular acclaim, at the Society of Portrait Sculptors, Cork Street, the following year.


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