Letters, photographs and press cuttings send to Constance Jane Holder by Clare Sheridan

Scope and Content

The fifty-six letters cover the period 1945-1951 during which Sheridan moved from England to The Spanish Arch in Galway, Ireland. They give details of commissions, most of which were religious, and discuss her apprenticeship to a local Galway monumental mason, where she learnt stone carving. They also record how she became a local celebrity in Galway and mention two of her exhibitions, one in Dublin, 1948, and the other at the Ashley Gallery, London, 1951. The twelve photographs are of Sheridan and her work and the two press cuttings include an obituary. It is not known who Constance 'Jane' Holder was but the letters show she was a close friend and occasionally provided domestic help.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sheridan [née Frewen], Clare Consuelo (1885–1970), was a sculptor and journalist. Born in London to a well-connected wealthy family her artistic and intelligent nature was ill-suited to high society balls and country-house parties. In 1910 she married Wilfred Sheridan and had two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth. When Elizabeth died in February 1914 she modelled a little angel for the child's grave and realized that she wanted to be a sculptor. In September 1915 her husband was killed in the battle of Loos only a few days after the birth of her son Richard. Despite these tragedies she set up a small London studio where she could study sculpture under William Reid Dick. Her first exhibition aroused great interest and she obtained several high-profile commissions including creating a bust of Lord Asquith. She also modelled a head of her cousin Winston Churchill. Sheridan’s politics were very different from those of her cousin. Fascinated by the Soviet Union she travelled via Stockholm in 1920 to Moscow where she modelled busts of Grigory Zinoviev, Feliks Dzerzhinsky, Kamenev, Lenin, and Trotsky while living at the Kremlin. On her return to England she was ostracised by London Society and so she left for America. For several years Sheridan worked as a journalist and war correspondent travelling extensively. By the mid to late 1920s she had moved away from journalism back to sculpture, building a house in Algeria where she lived with her children. In 1937 her son Dick died aged twenty-one. Once again Sheridan turned to sculpture to express her grief, carving a huge oak tree into a memorial for her son. After the Second World War she entered the Roman Catholic Church and moved to the Spanish Arch in Galway. There she continued to carve and model. It was here that she wrote her memoirs 'To the Four Winds' (1957). She died on 31 May 1970.

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Archivist's Note

Archive Hub Description created by Janette Martin. Biographical information was summarised from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Related Material

For other Clare Sheridan papers see the National Register of Archives.


C. Sheridan, To the Four Winds (1957) A. Leslie, Cousin Clare (1976)