The Last of us


Jilly Cunningham

Jilly Cunningham is a British sculptor whose work has been shortlisted by The National Portrait Gallery and exhibited in galleries throughout London, Cambridge and Portugal. High profile clients include Jools Holland, Benjamin Zephaniah, Ken Livingstone, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Jo Brand and Bert Jansch. 

Jilly’s work has been featured in British and Portuguese national newspapers, including The Independent. Her Mother & Child Revisited MMX1V sculpture was recently celebrated by Mike Scialom of the Cambridge News, which had previously reported on the exhibition of the sculpture at Cambridge Airport. 

Jilly Cunningham was born in London of Anglo-Hungarian parents. She studied sculpture at Hammersmith’s College of Art at age 18, before working as an Art Therapist in Tooting Bec Psychiatric Hospital.  She became fascinated by the connection between art and psychology, splitting her time between the hospital and taking private commissions.

Jilly began creating sculpture portraits from sittings, using her life casting process to “steal” the magical essence of the personality, and boldly display the man/woman behind the “mask.”

She embarked upon her Cultural Legends series, commissioned to make sculpture portraits of many famous faces, including Jools Holland, Ken Livingstone, Benjamin Zephaniah, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Bernie Grant, to name a few.

Always a restless and inquisitive artist, after completing the Cultural Legends series she flew to Portugal to work in a remote mountain village in the Algarve. She was swiftly commissioned to make a sculpture for an Algarvian library but also spent two years discovering and mastering the new and challenging techniques of Kiln-formed glass. Jilly experimented with glass, producing a strange and unearthly collection of glass heads.

Now based in Cambridgeshire, Jilly continues her artistic journey. Her portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah was shortlisted by The National Portrait Gallery for their Private Sculpture Collection in 2013. In 2016, Jilly was the only sculptor invited to exhibit at the Cambridge  International Airport launch exhibition with her Mother & Child Revisited MMX1V  mosaic. The sculpture will be displayed at Hay Castle in Hay-on-Wye once the castle renovation is complete.

Jilly has recently completed a new mosaic entitled ‘Nature Fights Back’ (featured on this page) which explores whether COVID-19 is nature’s response to mankind’s use and abuse of the’ harvest which is given to us daily. She also took part in the 2021 Cambridge Open Studios at her cottage in the Cambridgeshire countryside.

Jilly has recently shared an update: “I will be exhibiting with Cambridge Open Studios at The Pitt Building, Trumpington St, Cambridge. CB2 1RP during the first weekend of 2nd July and 3rd July 2022. I hope you can come along and enjoy meeting my new switches!”

Another chance to get switched-on !

Please visit the Contact page regarding commissions or purchase of her light switches.