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DEATH OF RALPH PALMER (article first published : 2000-04-3)

Professor Ralph Palmer, a well-known KZN sculptor and painter died at his home in Queensburgh on March 30 at the age of 85. “He was becoming very frail and ill and had been bedridden for a long time so his death was a merciful release,” says his wife Helen, who is also well-known as a photographer.

Born in Richmond, Surrey (UK), Ralph Palmer amassed an impressive CV in the field of art as well as museum management. He was the only pupil of well-known South African artist Anton von Vouw and in an interview with the Durban-based D’ARTS magazine in November 1990, is recorded as saying that his teacher was “a very irascible and unpredictable man.”

Ralph worked with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for 16 years in the conservation department. He was also curator of art at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley and later curator and director of the Zululand Historical Museum in Eshowe.

He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and an honorary life member of the Chelsea Arts Club. He graduated as a director of philosophy in museum management from California University in 1986 and many of his works are in permanent exhibitions such as the Imperial War and John Evelyn Museums in London. Several pieces are also in the private collection of Sir Harry Oppenheimer. His autobiography There Must be Sculpture was published in 1998.

The funeral service will take place on Wednesday (April 5) at the Queensburgh Methodist Church, Vausedale Road, Northdene at 15h00 after which it will proceed to Queensburgh Cemetery.




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