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Happy Birthday to Wilfred Cass, who is 90 years old today (11 November). Wilfred is an electrical engineer and entrepreneur by profession, and an art lover by nature. In 1990 he and his wife Jeannette combined art and entrpreneurship when they bought a house and land at Goodwood near Chichester, where they subsequently established the Cass Sculpture Foundation.
The Foundation displays a constantly changing selection of contemporary British sculpture in a beautiful woodland setting. Works are sold to finance the commission of new works. This was a new funding model when first proposed by Wilfred and Jeannette, and people told them it would never work. But it certainly has worked! Walking among the trees and sculptures is a magical experience and a truly wonderful achievement by the founders. Starting with 13 acres the Foundation now has another 13 acres granted by the Duke of Richmond, owner of the Goodwood Estate.
Wilfred's activities with the Foundation do not stop here, however. The first three sculptures to occupy Trafalgar Square's long-unoccupied Fourth Plinth were commissioned by the Foundation on behalf of the Royal Society of Arts. These included Rachel Whiteread's Monument (2001). In 2005 the Foundation collaborated with the Natural History and Science museums, and the V&A, to exhibit five sculptures by Tony Cragg in London's Exhibition Road. In 2011 the Foundation commissioned a major work by Tony Cragg for a site in Singpore.
Many people half the age of Wilfred Cass would find all this too much for them. Cassone wishes Wilfred a very happy birthday and hopes that he will long continue to champion British sculpture. Wilfred, your country needs you! Many happy returns!
For more about Wilfred Cass and the Cass Sculpture Foundation, log in and read 'Wilfred Cass, champion of British sculpture' in November's Cassone.
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