Sam Hanna Bell Samuel Beckett John Hewitt Bernard (Barney) Hughes James Joseph Magennis VC Frances Elizabeth Clarke Stewart Parker William Carleton Rosamond Praegar

Ian Friers (1909 - 1975):
Artist: sculptor

Ian Friers was born in Belfast in 1909, brother of the more recognised artist and cartoonist Rowel Friers. According to his brother, Ian Friers began sending home drawings and sketches using natural wood forms during his time with the Royal Navy Volunteer Force in the Second World War. On his return to Northern Ireland he began sculpting animal forms, ‘utilizing the eccentricities of branch shapes, the bark and natural grains, to achieve the textures of his subjects’. Prior to this Friers had not embarked on a career as a sculptor or artist – on the advice of his mother he worked as a Civil Servant. Friers first exhibited with the Ulster Academy of Arts in 1947, and his work was included at an exhibition of contemporary architecture in Belfast during the Festival of Britain in 1951. Later his sculptures were represented at exhibitions organised by the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Irish Exhibition of Living Arts and the Sculptor’s Society of Ireland. Reviewing the RHA annual exhibition in 1950 an Irish Times critic praised Ian Frier’s abstract Regency in which ‘the distinctive grain of ash is used to stress the formal design of the head’. It was reported that by 1950 Friers had exhausted the supply of hard wood around his home in Dundonald on the outskirts of Belfast, but was aided by Lady Brooke, wife of the Northern Irish Prime Minister Basil Brooke, who was an admirer of his work. Friers also received a supply of wood from Sweden in 1950. The Belfast based businessman and art collector Zoltan Lewinter-Frankl owned four of Frier’s wood carvings; Buddhist; Mother and Child; Sulking Boy and Fantasy. A retrospective of his work was held in the Grendor Art Gallery in Holywood, Co. Down. 

Born: 1909
Died: 1975
Emma McVeigh

Irish Times, 2 May 1950, p.4, and 17 June, 1950 p.3; Friers, R: Drawn from Life: an autobiography, Belfast, 1994.