Janet Beckhouse (1955-2020)

Saddened to learn that Janet Beckhouse died suddenly and unexpectedly this week. Beckhouse sculpted rich neo-Baroque worlds packed with lush foliage, snakes, skulls and goddesses. Intricate and dynamic worlds in transition, moving between the natural and the supernatural, the mythologic and the psychologic.

Christopher Köller, Trust (Janet Beckhouse), 2008

Memories of visiting her studio and seeing her intricate ceramic work come flooding back. Her ceramics are in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Australia, Hamilton Art Gallery, Shepparton Art Museum, Bendigo Art Gallery and Victorian College of The Arts but I saw them most often at Craft Victoria.

I didn’t know her well, I just met her a couple of times because William Eicholtz shared a studio with her. Remember visiting the studio and watching in terror as her little black tom cat showed off by jumping through the handle of one of her delicate pieces.

“Nothing of her that doth fade. But doth suffer a sea-change. Into something rich and strange. Sea-nymphs hourly ring her knell.”

(Riffing on Shakespeare’s Tempest Act i. Sc. 2)
Janet Beckhouse, Ganesha, 2014

About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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