Franta Belsky

Franta Belsky (1921–2000) was a Czech sculptor.

He was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1921, the son of the economist Josef Bělský. With his family, he fled to England after the German invasion, and volunteered for the Czech Exile Army. He fought in France as a gunner and was twice mentioned in dispatches.

He returned to Prague after the war to find that many of his relations had perished in the Holocaust. He designed a paratroop memorial, and a medal in honour of Emil Zátopek, before fleeing again to escape the Communist takeover in 1948.

His work includes not only traditional statues and busts, but also large-scale more abstract works. He produced a number of statues of Winston Churchill, one of them at the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library in Fulton, Missouri. His royal busts are in the British National Portrait Gallery, his Admiral Cunningham in Trafalgar Square and Mountbatten in Horse Guards, in London. Belsky also designed the Torsion Fountain at the Shell Centre in London.

Among other honors Belsky won the Otto Beit Medal of the Royal British Society of Sculptors for excellence in sculpture.

In 1944, he married Margaret Owen the newspaper cartoonist, who signed her own work Belsky. After her death in 1989, in 1996 he remarried fellow sculptor Irena Sedlecka. He sculpted two busts of U.S. President Harry S. Truman before dying on 5 July 2000.


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