Ann Verdcourt was born in Bedfordshire, England, and immigrated to New Zealand with her husband in 1965. Her work references many other artists and art movements, drawing from her extensive knowledge of art history. In her work one can find allusions to artists including Velasquez, Matisse, Modigliani and Brancusi to the famous earthenware depiction of the Venus of Willendorf.
Verdcourt says of her work: 'Unless the work is a commission I don't make working drawings or scale models before making. I like to be surprised as the work builds, that way I keep it fresh. Sometimes I can visualise the finished object and build it in one go. Most of the time I will have several starts/stops and decide it's not going to work and wedge up the clay and start again. I may wonder if I had done this or that differently, would the work be better? That is how I end up making three similar groups, e.g. 'Ted, Fred and Karla'. Each piece is still individually modelled with its own style which keeps the work alive.
I don't have a set way of making. I coil, pinch, pile the clay up and squeeze it or make solid lumps and hollow it out. I have made plaster press moulds for the cartons but avoid using moulds if possible. Fifty years of using clay has not dulled my enthusiasm for it.'
Verdcourt has been working with clay since the 1950s, and has work in the collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, the Auckland Museum, Auckland, Te Manawa, Palmerston North, Sarjeant Art Gallery, Wanganui, the James Wallace Collection, Auckland, Hawke's Bay Museum, Napier, and the Dowse, Lower Hutt.