Margaret Howell's 2021 calendar features the work of British mid-century sculptor Brian Willsher. The sculptures selected for this calendar are an accurate representation of the morphic, fluid forms that Willsher became well-known for. With sweeping curves, concentric rings and hardwood geometry, they each developed their own distinctive patina over time.
For British artist Brian Willsher, building a career as a successful sculptor was never intentional. Born in 1930, he studied engineering at Woolwich Polytechnic and drifted through a variety of different professions before retraining as a dental technician. An avid motorcycling fan, he had a serious accident during a race at Brands Hatch in 1953, which led to an extended period of convalescence. With numerous injuries and limited capacity, he began experimenting with plaster and spent the next six months making small ornaments and animal figurines, which he sold for a nominal sum.
A post-recovery camping trip to Guernsey in the late 1950s altered Brian’s outlook and after returning to London he made the decision to leave his job and turn his attention to making hand-carved wooden salad bowls. With slow sales, a local shop owner suggested he try making wooden table lamp bases instead. He accepted the suggestion enthusiastically and within a few months his creations were selling rapidly at Heal’s, Liberty and Harrods.