Sculpting Royalty – Vision Foundation

Sculpting Royalty with the Vision Foundation

In a Royal first, Vision Foundation patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO has been sculpted live in front of an online audience in aid of the Vision Foundation.

the sculptor Frances Segelman creating a clay likeleness of the Countess of Wessex



The Countess of Wessex, Patron, Vision Foundation, has sat for a sculpture designed for blind and partially sighted people as part of a special event for the Vision Foundation. The Countess joined sculptor Frances Segelman (Lady Petchey) at her London studio for the unique socially distanced sculpting, which was live streamed to Vision Foundation supporters and guests.

Videos and photos

This short film documents the creative process of the sculpting and includes a short statement from HRH The Countess of Wessex as well as contributions from Tamsin Baxter and Rebecca Clarke of the Vision Foundation, the noted sculptor Frances Segelman and the journalist and event host Sue Saville.

This time-lapse displays the transformation of the clay into a realistic depiction of HRH The Countess of Wessex, and an accessible piece of art.

To see more photos from the day please follow this link for a slide show of images.

As well as being the first time the sculpting process has been broadcast live the Countess’s sitting has been a one-off as social distancing measures were adhered to throughout with Frances and Her Royal Highness maintaining two metres apart during the process.

Amit Patel and Kika the guide dogThe virtual event was co-hosted by the Vision Foundation’s Chief Executive, Olivia Curno, and the broadcaster and former ITV News Medical Correspondent, Sue Saville. The event also featured Vision Foundation supporters Dr Amit Patel, who lost his sight at the age of 32 and BBC Radio 1 presenter Lucy Edwards who talked about some of the challenges facing blind and partially sighted people since coming out of lockdown. The virtual audience also heard about programmes funded by the Vision Foundation, Lucy Edwardsincluding a project run by the Photographer’s Gallery designed for young people.

Olivia Curno, the Chief Executive of the Vision Foundation, said:

“The Countess of Wessex has been the Vision Foundation’s patron for more than 17 years and we’ve been overwhelmed by her dedication to ensuring blind and partially sighted people have the same opportunities as anyone else in our capital.

“The coronavirus crisis has set back the independence of blind and partially sighted people by decades – it’s hard to social distance when you can’t see; hard to be guided across roads and through stations when people are nervous to touch you; employment prospects are even more bleak. Being able to share the experiences of visually impaired people helps to increase public understanding and ensure London becomes open for all.”

The finished bust will be cast in bronze and then unveiled during the Vision Foundation’s centenary year in 2021.

Our sincere thanks go to Sir Jack and Lady Frances Petchey for supporting and facilitating this extraordinary event.

Thousands of blind and partially sighted Londoners feel isolated and cut-off from society, unable to access the essential services sighted people take for granted. That’s just unfair isn’t it? Everyone should be able to access the services they need – regardless of ability.

Your support means the world to blind and partially sighted people in London, now and for the future.

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