Leeds philanthropist proves a study in stillness

Frances Segelman makes a bust of Marjorie Ziff.
Frances Segelman makes a bust of Marjorie Ziff.
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Years of experience helped Leeds philanthropist Marjorie Ziff to be a study in stillness.

For 90 minute she stayed motionless while the royal sculptor, Frances Segelman, crafted her likeness.

The sitting was the highlight of a fair held at the Moortown community centre named after Marjorie and her late husband Arnold, where a large crowd watched the artist at work.

“I’m used to sitting upright,” said Marjorie. “It comes easily when you practice at the piano every day.”

The finished bust will eventually sit alongside a sculpture Frances created of Arnold Ziff back in 2004 and now has pride of place in the centre.

For now, though, its next stop is her studio in Wapping, London.

“It will be propped upright in the back of a car with someone’s hand holding it in position,” she explained.

”When it arrives at my studio, I will put the finishing touches to it.

“I will tidy up any bits that might have been damaged in transit, and then I will send it to a foundry near me.”

The completed work will then be carefully transported back to the Ziff centre.

Frances was full of praise for Dr Marjorie’s sitting.

”You were marvellous,” she told her. “Your deportment was amazing and you were so serene – the ideal sitter.

“I was thrilled to be back in Leeds and doing something for the community which means so much to me.”

Dr Ziff said she was delighted with the bust.

“I’ve known Frances since she was a little girl in Leeds,” she said, “and I admire her work enormously.

“Everything she does is brilliant.”

In a 25-year career, Frances Segelman has also sculpted HRH the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

She has also created likenesses of broadcaster Sir David Frost, showbiz veteran Bruce Forsyth and many others.

Her 9ft statue of footballing legend Billy Bremner stands with his arms aloft outside Leeds United’s Elland Road stadium.

She was always keen on art and, after giving birth to her second child, took up sculpting, at first doing a bust of her husband.

Frances says her aim when she is creating a sculpture is always the same – “to bring the person to life by capturing their personality, character, manner and individuality”.


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