Claremont School

Esher, Class of 1955

Vivien ap Rhys Pryce

Vivien was an award winning sculptor with large public works on display in Nymans Garden, University of Exeter and in New Zealand. Her brother, John (Lings, Class of 1957) reflects on his sisters life and shares photographs taken during her school years:

“Vivien was born in 1937, so she grew up in the war years. They were evacuated to a farm near Lewes in Sussex, and I remember her saying that she and her sister Hilary (Radnor, Class of 1952) used to watch the doodle-bugs, the V1 & V2 rockets, flying over towards London. I came along 6 years later, so you can imagine what a triumph it was for a 6-year-old girl to have a real live baby to look after.

Our parents were often overseas, so Hilary and Vivien were at boarding school and in the holidays were farmed out to our Grandparents, Aunts or friends. I think the deprivations of rationing after the war made a profound impression on Vivien. She was always quite frugal and never threw anything away that might come in handy one day. Apparently her sister was the same, so maybe it’s a genetic thing!

Vivien was born to be an artist, perhaps getting it from our Mother, who was also artistic and a very good water-colourist. Vivien never married, and although I know it is a cliché, I think her creations were her children. She worked in all mediums, clay, stone, wax, resin and ceramics. She also painted, mainly in water colours. Examples of her work are on the walls and there are some notes about her career on the back of your programmes.

She was also extremely good at sewing and knitting, making her own dresses and blouses from scratch. She had the wonderful ability to be able to knit while watching television at the same time! She knitted actually this waistcoat I’m wearing.

Two other important strands in her life were her faith and her dogs. She was a sincere Christian Scientist all her life and helped run the Church in Warminster until it closed a few years ago. She decided to get a dog when she moved from London to Calne. She has a friend who bred spaniels, so her first dog, Dora, was a Welsh Springer Spaniel, who she had from a puppy. She used to show Dora regularly at all the local dog shows and collected a raft of rosettes over the years. Dora was followed by Amy, also a Spaniel, and then later by Letty and Muffin who both came from rescue centres. Having Muff towards the end was a great solace to her, and I would like to thank all her friends at Leighton Home Farm Court most sincerely for all their kindness in helping to look after both her and Muffin.”