Harry Seager obituary

Other Lives: Highly original sculptor of glass and steel constructions

My friend Harry Seager, who has died aged 89 of Covid-19, was a highly original sculptor of glass and steel constructions some time before the studio glass movement was established.

His pieces managed to be both monumental and playful at the same time. The sinuous linear steel structures supported and shaped the precisely cut glass sheets into rhythmic forms that belied their enormous weight and the great engineering expertise that went into them.

From the 1960s to the 80s he was represented by the Gimpel Fils gallery, which brought his work to an international audience, and he is represented in many public and private collections, including at the Victoria and Albert museum.

Harry was born in Birmingham to Morris Seager, a shop manager, and his wife, Esther (nee Harris), a magistrate and local councillor. After leaving Holly Lodge grammar school in Smethwick, he attended Birmingham School of Art to study sculpture, followed by two years of national service. Once demobbed, he began producing site specific sculptures for buildings in a variety of materials.

In 1961 he became a lecturer at Stourbridge College of Art in the West Midlands, where I taught with him, and he moved up to be a key staff member on its new fine art course in 1967. He remained at the college until his retirement in 1989.

Outside his teaching, Harry began experimenting with sheet glass as a material from the early 60s, drawing on the examples set by the Russian constructivists. Initially he used resins to bond sheets together but graduated to complex steel armatures that enabled works to be re-assembled and repaired.

In his later years Harry used glass more sparingly, working in a wide variety of materials and scales. He never lost his enthusiasm or his love of life, and that made him a delightful person to know. He was busy in his studio to the end, leaving ambitious pieces unfinished at the time of his death.

He is survived by his wife, Marie (nee Alfred), whom he met at a Birmingham youth group and married in 1962, their daughter, Rebecca, and two grandchildren, Misty and Alice. Another son, Reuben, predeceased him.

Keith Cummings

The GuardianTramp

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