Sophie sits for sculptor during live broadcast for Vision Foundation

The Countess of Wessex performed an unusual duty on Wednesday: she sat for a sculptural portrait, that was live-streamed!

The event was in support of her patronage, The Vision Foundation, which makes the arts more accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

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Sophie spent over two hours whilst artist Frances Segelman recreated her face in clay. The sculpture aims to provide an opportunity for the blind and visually impaired to get the know the Countess’ likeness.

The event took place over a live stream and was socially-distanced in line wit  government guidelines. The live stream was for Vision Foundation supporters and guests with BBC radio presenter Lucy Edwards, being a keynote speaker and an advocate for the charity. It offered information about the charity, as well as how the challenges faced by visually-impaired  people during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The art piece completed by Frances Segelman

Sophie, The Countess of Wessex had her sculpture made for the Vision Foundation; it will allow the blind and visually-impaired to explore her image through touch (@royalfamily)

YouTuber and freelance BBC broadcaster Lucy Edwards said: “It is a critical issue. In the months to come we cannot socially distance. My guide dog is nearing retirement and that brings more anxiety.”

“So I am just a bit apprehensive. We are capable, amazing human beings and we are here to be counted.”

The Countess of Wessex spoke about the challenges faced by the visually impaired “For the blind and partially sighted amongst us, these past months have been especially challenging.

“However, through the care that the Vision Foundation has extended to those in difficulty, I am hopeful that the people we care for will feel empowered within their communities.

“Thank you to Frances for sculpting my face today. This sculpture, and the faces of many others, will allow the blind and partially sighted to see through touch and so to more vividly imagine their world.”

“Whether you are a long-time supporter or friend of the Vision Foundation, or you are new to us, thank you for your vital support, and I would encourage you all to speak to the Foundation team to find out more about our work and explore how you can play a part in bringing the world to within closer reach for those who struggle to see it.”

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A bronze bust of The Queen created by Segelman

Frances Segelman is best known for her sculptures of royalty, having previously sculpted a bronze bust of The Queen in 2008. The artist has also created works of The Duke of Edinburgh and The Princess Royal.

The Countess of Wessex has been The Vision Foundation’s patron since 2003, having taken over the patronage from The Queen Mother.

The likeness of Sophie will be unveiled in 2021 to mark The Vision Foundation’s centenary.

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