Back to Members

Derwent Wise
(1933 — 2003)

Derwent Wise was a British sculptor and painter. Born in 1933 in Yorkshire, Wise was the son of a railway stationmaster. From an early age, Wise cultivated a fascination with both technology and the natural environment around him which would be evident in his work throughout his varied career. Having graduated from what is now the Fine Art Department of Newcastle University (then located at Durham) in 1956, he began his academic and artistic careers as a part-time lecturer at the Sunderland College of Art before accepting a position as Director of Three Dimensional Studies at the Salford School of Art in 1960. Wise dedicated much of his time to serve as an artistic educator alongside his personal explorations as a practising artist, lecturing as a specialist in sculpture at the Wolverhampton College of Art and later at the University of Newcastle, where he was appointed the Head of Sculpture in 1976.


Until the early 1970s, in keeping with his academic focus, Wise worked exclusively and extensively as a sculptor. A desire to explore his sculptural forms further in his personal creations lead Wise to work across the two disciplines of sculpture and painting, before abandoning the former medium in order to commit himself fully to working as a painter from 1978 onwards – despite holding the post of Head of Sculpture at Newcastle University until his retirement in the 1990s. The organic sculptural forms of the first half of his career were at once complimented by and in contrast to his meticulous paintings of the topography of the Northumberland landscape, which his painting principally focused on until late in to his life. The artist died in 2003.