Ten Minute Daytrip Out The Car Window- Desert Quartet, Elizabeth Frink, Worthing.

Elisabeth Frink is my favourite sculptor, close second is William Mitchell. I have been ever since I first saw her The Welcoming Christ sculpture on the front of the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.  On a trip to Worthing back in February, I wandered around the town and saw a set of heads on top of a building. I recognised them and knew they were important but my brain in its cold and hungry state only managed to say ‘Oh look, heads’. It wasn’t until I got home that I found out the full extent of the error my brain had made and I immediately planned another trip down there to see them.

The Desert Quartet was to be her penultimate sculpture and I love this entry on the Worthing Society Desert Quartet page

The Desert Quartet sculpted by Dame Elisabeth Frink

‘In 2007 The Worthing Society was alerted that Mr.Humphrey Avon the developer of the Montague Centre was holding a competition for a sculpture to replace the Desert Quartet in Alexander Terrace at Liverpool Gardens. This proposal was completely unacceptable to the Worthing Society and a campaign was launched to prevent the removal of these bronze busts.

The Twentieth Century Society and the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association were informed and representations made to the Secretary of State of the Department of Culture Media and Sport. As a result the Desert Quartet and its supporting loggia was listed in the category List II* on the 11th May 2007, which provides considerable protection against the removal of the sculptures.On 28th April 2007 a petition was launched by the Society to retain the Desert Quartet in its present position. Two petitions were handed to the Mayor and the full Council on 26th June, one containing 840 signatures and the other 415 online signatures. It was hoped that this was the end of the matter but Mr.Avonapplied to the Secretary of State to have the listing reviewed. The Worthing Societymade urgent representations to the Secretary of State to keep the listing and urged the Worthing Borough Council to do likewise. We can now report that the bid to have the listing overturned has failed. 

The Desert Quartet is a much loved local landmark and a public art work of national importance and indeed international importance; every effort will continue to be made by this Society and the Twentieth Century Society to permanently retain the sculptures in their present position.'

Ted Kennard (Committee Member)


This piece about the sculpture is credited on the Elisabeth Frink Estate website-

Desert Quartet I


1989, bronze, edition of 6

modelled in plaster carved with rhythmic marks over entire surface

Woolland studio, Dorset

H: 130.8 cm (51 1/2 in)

Frink entitled these monumental series of 4 heads, Desert Quartet, because she felt they related to her feeling for the dynamic force between space and containment that she felt when in the Tunisian desert.


As when I see any pieces of her work, I wasn’t disappointed and after finding them again by car, I was so pleased and almost blocked the whole road looking at them. They are situated in Alexander Terrace at Liverpool Gardens. There they sit looking out on things and I really loved them. The colours, the framing everything and I wish I lived opposite so I could see them everyday.

By this point, I had blocked the road, so I had to leave but they really are great. I have a list of her works I would like to see and have seen, so I was pleased to be able to cross them off.

Further Reading…

http://elisabethfrink-estate.com/– Everything you need to know.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/dame-elisabeth-frink-1124– The Tates Collection.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-dame-elisabeth-frink- 1456195.html- Obituary

http://www.pmsa.org.uk/– All of the information about public art and Sculptures.

All sites accessed 24th March 2017.