David Williams-Ellis

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David Williams-Ellis
Born1959 (age 64–65)
Lisburn, Northern Ireland
EducationStowe School
Nerina Simi's
Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design
  • Serena Williams-Ellis (divorced)
Nicola Shale
(m. 2017)
RelativesClough Williams-Ellis (great uncle)

David Williams-Ellis (born 1959) is a British sculptor whose primary subject matter is the human figure.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Williams-Ellis was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.[citation needed] His great uncle was Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, architect and creator of Portmeirion in North Wales.[2] His cousin was Susan Williams-Ellis, a pottery designer best known for co-founding Portmeirion Pottery.[3]

Williams-Ellis was educated at Stowe School, Buckinghamshire.[4]

On leaving school, in 1977, he trained under Nerina Simi, in Florence, who taught him to observe the details within a face, the way a person's clothes hung and the details within buildings.[5]


In 1978 he received the Elizabeth T. Greenshield Foundation Award and he was able to work and study with the marble craftsmen of Carrara in Pietrasanta.[2] He was heavily influenced by the early and high Renaissance and Italian art in general, as well as the architecture and visual excitement of Italy. In 1981 he returned to London to attend the Sir John Cass School of Art (now the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design).[6]

In 1993 Williams-Ellis was elected as a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art.[7]

Williams-Ellis' exhibition, entitled Elemental, was held at the Portland Gallery in December 2014.[2][8]

Williams-Ellis' most recent exhibition, entitled D-Day Soldiers, was held at the Portland Gallery in June 2019.[9][10]

Notable public commissions[edit]

In 2021, Williams-Ellis was commissioned by Manchester City Football Club to create a sculpture celebrating Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee and the major influence they had on the club in their 'Golden Era' of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The commission is part of a series of tributes to key figures forming the Club’s legacy project, first announced in 2019 and directed by Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak. The Sculpture was unveiled on 28 November 2023 and is located on the West perimeter in front of the main entrance to the Etihad Stadium.[11]

Williams-Ellis was commissioned by the Normandy Memorial Trust to create the D-Day sculpture to commemorate the 22,443 British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who died during the landings and thereafter. It will be the centre-piece of the memorial park's official inauguration and will occupy a position on the forecourt of the memorial, designed by architect Liam O’Connor, against the backdrop of Gold Beach. The sculpture was unveiled on 6 June 2019, the 75th anniversary of the landings.[12]

Williams-Ellis was selected by Aberdeen City Council to create a sculpture to commemorate and celebrate all the men and women who have served in the city's fishing industry.[13] It consists of two life-size sculptures, a fisherwoman and a fisherman, that stand outside the Aberdeen Maritime Museum. It was unveiled on 27 June 2018.[14]

In 2016 Williams-Ellis was commissioned by the Eden Rivers Trust to sculpt two, over life-size, bronzes of a cock and hen salmon. These were to be sold by the trust to raise money to support their campaign and fundraising initiatives to save the wild salmon and stop their decline, in both the River Eden and other rivers across Britain.[15]

In 2013 Williams-Ellis was commissioned to sculpt an over life size bronze of T. E. Lawrence to commemorate the 80th anniversary of his death to be displayed at Snowdon Lodge,[16] Lawrence's birthplace.[17]

Commissioned by Mary Yapp of the Albany Gallery, Kyffin Williams's agent in Wales, to sculpt an over life size bronze of Kyffin Williams for Oriel Ynys Môn, where the Kyffin Williams Collection is housed.[18]

Commissioned in 2008 to sculpt Ray Gravell, the 10-ton statue now stands outside the south stand of the Parc y Scarlets.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Williams-Ellis was married to the interior designer Serena Williams-Ellis, and they have three children together, Hugo, Phoebe, and Jack.[2] In 2014, he lived near Penrith in Cumbria.[2]

In 2016, he moved to Oxfordshire, and in April 2017, he married Nicola "Nikki" Shale (née Burrows) MBE (b. 1956), widow of politician Christopher Shale.[20][21] She is the mother of Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, the husband of Princess Beatrice of York, by her first marriage to Alex Mapelli-Mozzi, a former British Olympian.[22][23][24][25][26] His wife was awarded an MBE for political service as part of the 2016 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours.[27]


  1. ^ "Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park at The Hutts, Grewelthorpe". York Press.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sculptor David Williams-Ellis on studying in Italy and why he never eats in restaurants". The Daily Telegraph. 28 November 2014.
  3. ^ Cooper, Emmanuel (28 January 2008). "Obituary: Susan Williams-Ellis". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  4. ^ "OS Sculptor David Williams-Ellis". The Corinthian Online.
  5. ^ "I giganti di David Williams-Ellis hanno un'anima italiana". Il Sole 24 Ore.
  6. ^ "Raising funds for a larger-than-life a large statue of Sir Kyffin Williams at his local gallery". Wales Online. 31 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Members". Royal Cambrian Academy.
  8. ^ "Sinuous sculpture by David Williams-Ellis". Financial Times. 4 February 2015.
  9. ^ "David Williams-Ellis About Exhibition". Portland Gallery.
  10. ^ Aidin, Beatrice (4 June 2019). "Poignant sculpture commemorates the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings". howtospendit.ft.com.
  11. ^ Man City, Editorial (23 November 2023). "BELL, LEE AND SUMMERBEE: TRIBUTE SCULPTOR REVEALED". Man City. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  12. ^ "The British Normandy Memorial design revealed". Normandy Memorial Trust.
  13. ^ Roberts, Karen. "Statue commemorating Aberdeen fishing heritage to be unveiled".
  14. ^ Wyllie, James. "Permanent fishing memorial unveiled in Aberdeen".
  15. ^ "Art Helping Life". Trout And Salmon.
  16. ^ "Village marks death of TE Lawrence". BBC News. 19 May 2015.
  17. ^ Crump, Eryl (30 April 2015). "North Wales village set to mark 80th anniversary of death of Lawrence of Arabia". WalesOnline.
  18. ^ Crump, Eryl (29 June 2013). "Sir Kyffin Williams painting could go for as much as £50k". Daily Post.
  19. ^ "Ray Gravell's family unveil statue in Llanelli". WalesOnline. 5 September 2009.
  20. ^ "David Williams-Ellis (Temple 77)". The Corinthian. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  21. ^ Goodman, Pamela. "The Welsh home of David Williams-Ellis, the sculptor behind the new D-Day memorial". House & Garden. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  22. ^ Foussianes, C (2019). "Who Is Princess Beatrice's New Boyfriend, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi". Town and Country Magazine. Hearst Magazine Media, Inc. Retrieved 13 March 2019. ..at London's National Portrait Gallery...Mozzi's father is Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi
  23. ^ Spranklen, Annabelle (23 August 2019). "Meet Italian millionaire Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi: Princess Beatrice's boyfriend". Tatler. Retrieved 18 September 2019. despite his Italian heritage, Mozzi is fully integrated into British society, having attended Radley College and Edinburgh University.
  24. ^ "Country Life". 13 October 2005. Countess Natalia Mapelli Mozzi, aged 24, is the daughter of Count Atessandro Mapelli Mozzi, of St Antonin du Var, France, and of Mrs Christopher Shale, of Hundley House. Her brother, Count Edoardo, is...
  25. ^ "Love in High Places". The Telegraph. 20 November 2018. p. 453. Retrieved 13 March 2019. ...though the romance is new, the friendship is not...Edo is a count himself...
  26. ^ "The Royalty, Peerage and Aristocracy of the World, Volume 90". Annuaire de France. 1967. Retrieved 13 March 2019. MAPELLI MOZZI, Count (m)...(Italy)...Noble: Count Edouard Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi (known as Edo) was born in Westminster, 1 November 1983, son of Count Alessandro (Alex) Mapelli Mozzi, and his former wife the former Nicola D. Burrows.
  27. ^ Siddique, Haroon (31 July 2016). "Donors, aides and remainers dominate secret Cameron honours list". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2019.