Helen Mary Skelton

As a practicing lettercarver and teacher of the art, I am heartened by the rise of enthusiasm for good design and hand-cut characters. This has been in no small part due to the tireless work of Harriet Frazer and her passion for fine lettering.

Thanks to Memorials by Artists, the prevalence of bad design and shoddy work that pervades so many cemeteries and churchyards is beginning to be challenged. I am delighted to be part of this ‘movement’ as it links so well with my Great Uncle Eric Gill’s ‘raison d’etre’, to reintroduce direct carving and beautiful letter forms. My father, John Skelton, who was trained for a short while by Eric Gill, and who trained me, had the vivacity and confidence to know the rules of the classic form but to change them. He brought to bear his skill and inventiveness to carve letters, which really ‘lived’. It is this notion that I strive to convey to my students, and which I hope to express through my own work.

I enjoy carving limestones and slates as well as some sandstones and woods, for example walnut, yew or oak. My memorial work can take many forms; sundials, garden seats, poetry on wall tablets, birdbaths or standing stones. I also make traditional headstones and cremation tablets. My aim is to encourage clients to be involved with the process and the progress of a piece. I trust that my free work stands for itself.


I work from the studio built by John Skelton in Streat, where my commissions include commemorative pieces, sundials, poetry and other carving work as well as relief and letter cutting in stone and wood. A significant proportion of my commemorative work is for ‘Memorials by Artists’, and organisation set-up to promote individual design and hand carved letters as opposed to mass produced memorial slabs.


  • 1974 - 1977 Three year apprenticeship with my father, the sculptor and letter cutter John Skelton (MBE), nephew of Eric Gill.
  • 1987 - 1988 Certificate in Person Centred Art Therapy – Crawley College of Technology.
  • 1995 - 1996 City and Guilds 7306 teaching certificate – Northbrook College.


  • 1977 - present Self employed letter cutter.
  • 1995 - 2000 Tutor in carving (adult ed) – Northbrook College.
  • 1998 - 2001 Tutor, adults with learning difficulties department – Lewes Tertiary College. 2000 - present Teacher, letter cutting – Skelton Workshops.
  • 2008 - present Tutor letter cutting (weekend courses) – City Lit College, Holborn.


  • 1991, 94-present Brighton Festival
  • 1991- present Ditchling Handworkers Guild - Ditchling
  • 1993 John Skelton’s Workshop
  • 1993 The Hesketh Gallery – Hurstpierpoint
  • 1994, 95 The Gallery in Cork Street – London
  • 1994, 95 The Garden Room Café – Lewes
  • 1994 The Scottich Gallery, Edinburgh
  • 1994, 99 The Arundel Trail
  • 1995 The Lewes Festival – Lewes
  • 1996-99 The Garden Gallery – Stockbridge
  • 1996 The Oxford Gallery – Oxford
  • 1997 Northbrook College – Worthing
  • 1997-99 Wolseley Fine Arts – Notting Hill
  • 2000 Philip Dunn’s Sculpture Garden

Classical headstones


Building plaques

Garden pieces

Works in wood

Sundry works