Edward Allington (1951–2017)

Remembering the sculptor, educator and writer 

We are very sad to announce the death of the artist, writer and frieze contributor, Edward Allington, who died last Thursday 21 September. His contribution to contemporary art, and to sculpture in particular, was profound. His generosity, wit and wisdom touched and influenced all of us who were privileged enough to know, work with or be taught by him.

Born in 1951 in Cumbria, Allington studied at Lancaster College of Art, the Central School of Art and Design and at the Royal College of Art in the early 1980s. His work was included in the group exhibition ‘Objects and Sculpture’ at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1981 and ‘The Sculpture Show’ at The Hayward Gallery in 1983; since then, he has exhibited widely in America, Japan and throughout Europe. More recently he has had solo shows at the Anglo Daiwa Foundation, London and Megan Piper Gallery, London.


Edward Allington, From the Birth of Paradise, 1983. Courtesy: Megan Piper, London

Edward Allington, From the Birth of Paradise, 1983. Courtesy: Megan Piper, London

Allington’s work is represented in major collections, including the Arts Council, Tate, Henry Moore Institute, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Museum; he was also commissioned to create various public sculptures in the UK, Germany and France.

Additionally, Allington had a distinguished reputation as a writer; as well as penning pieces for frieze including ‘Labours of Love: True Confessions of a Spare Parts Freak’ and ‘Dream Machines: Robot Art’, he wrote catalogue essays for major shows at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (Ed & Nancy Kienholz), and Tate Modern (Katharina Fritsch).

Allington taught at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, from 1990 until the present, becoming its Head of Graduate Sculpture in 2000 and Professor of Sculpture in 2006. In 2015 he was awarded an AHRC Network Grant for his project Japanese Modern Sculpture, a collaborative research network with the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, and Musashino Arts University, Tokyo, which resulted in an exhibition and a publication.

On a less formal note Edward was a self-confessed petrol head. Last year he finally completed the restoration of his beloved early Harley Davidson racer, which is currently on loan to the national motorcycle museum. In the week before he died he managed the purchase of a 1978 MVAugusta 125 from his hospital bed, which raised his spirits no end.

He leaves behind his partner Asako, and his children Thalia and Harry.

Main image: Edward Allington, 1987. Photograph: © Jillian Edelstein/Camera Press

Susan Collins is Director of the Slade School of Fine Art, London.

Gary Woodley is an artist who lives in London.

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