Sophie is the great, great granddaughter of the Victorian novelist – Charles Dickens, although she is not one to play upon her lineage. “It is fantastic to be related to such a great writer, but I would never wish to even begin to tread in his huge footsteps”.
Nor does she need to, as an acclaimed and highly collected sculptor in her own right, who has won many prestigious awards such as the Owen-Rowley Sculpture Prize in 1991 and the Sculpture Prize at the Victoria and Albert Museum – ‘Inspired by the Human Form – The Founders ‘Award in 2007.She attended the Courtauld Institute where she studied the High Renaissance by day and painted the human figure by night.
Dickens' work is striking in terms of energy and raw dynamic power. The movement, vitality and exuberance calls to mind some aspects of the Vorticist movement in particular Henri Gaudier- Brzeska, but her sculptures are very much her own. Her series of 13 huge rats got national press attention when we showed them in her last exhibition here, which also featured her five bronze monkeys playfully scaling the outside walls of the gallery. Appreciated by all visitors to the area, but sadly not the council who asked us to remove them.
Sophie exhibits superb technical craftsmanship, which evolved from the traditional modeller’s practice of packing out armatures with pieces of wood before applying clay to the form. She is the consummate all-rounder , at home with wood, clay and the whole bronze casting process. Her technical know-how gives her figures an authenticity and a realistic portrayal of the physical aspects of movement through a close examination of the fluidity of form.
Collectors of Dickens' work include the architect Michael Hopkins, the Duke of Bedford and Nick Crean, co-owner of Prestat choclatier. Another collector, Luke Syson, the New York based curator and art historian, says: “Dickenss' forms are bold – models of concentrated action – the surfaces almost architectural and the lines always graceful. I find her pieces powerful, funny, sexy, innocent and passionate "