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Josefina De Vasconcellos

March 13, 2010

It never fails to amaze me how you can always find a little bit of the Lake District wherever you go. On a recent visit to Coventry Cathedral we were drawn to a sculpture in the distance. On closer inspection we saw it was by Josefina De Vasconcellos who used to have a small cottage and studio at Peggy Hill in Ambleside.

Reconciliation by Josefina De Vasconcellos

Josefina De Vasconcellos studied at the Royal Academy, at the age of 19 she was accepted to the Grand Chaumiere in Paris and studied under Bourdelle one of Rodin’s assistants.

She married artist Delmar Banner a painter and along with their two adopted sons lived in a farmhouse in Little Langdale in the Lake District. In later life moving to Ambleside.


The amazing thing about the sculpture above is that it was commissioned by Richard Branson of Virgin fame, when Josefina was 97years old. In 1995, 50years after the end of World War Two, Richard Branson gave the sculpture to Coventry Cathedral as a token of reconcilliation.

An identical sculpture is situated in the Peace Garden in Hiroshima. The sculpture reminds us that in the face of destructive forces, human dignity and love will triumph over disaster.

Josefina lived to be over 100 and I can remember quite a few people coming to my shop to buy presents for her.

Other places in Cumbria where you can see her sculptures include,

Ambleside St Marys Church, Carlisle Cathedral, Cartmel Priory, Greystoke St Andrews Church, Haverigg Inshore rescue station, Kendal Abbot Hall, Rydal Rydal Hall Gardens.

  1. Lynda Knott permalink

    Have you read the book about her life? I had a copy but loaned it to my sister. Might never see it again!

    • Yes, was always interested in her life and spoke to her a few times. My father was a sculptor who studied under Benno Shotz at Glasgow School of Art so was particullarly interested in her work. Sisters being sisters I bet you never see that book again !

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