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Una Hanbury

Una Hanbury

American, born England, 1904 - 1990

Una Hanbury was born in England and trained at the Royal Academy of Art and in Paris. Fleeing England at the onset of World War II, Hanbury and her family moved to Bermuda, then Washington D.C. once the war was over. She first came to New Mexico in 1946 and was inspired to make Santa Fe her home in 1970 during a trip to sculpt the portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe on view here. This bust, which O’Keeffe found too harsh for her liking, was part of a larger portrait series in bronze of famous women that Hanbury worked on over the course of her career.
Hanbury’s specialty was the portrait bust. She commented “A portrait bust reflects the joy and potential for happiness in a personality. In fact, I have found that an insecure person is often reassured and given self-confidence by what the artist sees in him or her as an individual.” She was particularly interested in capturing the spirit of her subjects, taking care to get to know them as people, and once claimed that she would only sculpt people she liked. Her success in sculpting portraits earned her the honor of being the only living sculptor to have multiple works of art in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. during her lifetime. Hanbury was also an accomplished sculptor of animals, unsurprising since she studied with the distinguished animal painter Frank Calderon in England. Hanbury’s animal sculptures focused primarily on wildlife from the Southwest and she received regular commissions from prominent ranchers to sculpt their horses and new born foals. (Waguespack, 2018).