Alfreda Benge

Alfreda Benge

Alfreda Benge (Alfie), is an Artist, Illustrator, Film Maker and Lyricist who lives with her husband, Robert Wyatt in Louth, Lincolnshire. Born in 1940 in Austria to a Polish mother, she came to England in 1947.

Destined for a creative life from a young age

Alfie studied painting at Camberwell Art School, then typography and graphics at the London School of Printing before winning a competitive place at the RCA to study film. At the time she was completing her undergraduate studies the Royal Academy of Arts were looking for a someone to make a film celebrating the Royal Academy's Centenary. Alfie secured the role as part of her Post Graduate studies.

At the end of that project Alfie began working in film and had also met her future husband Robert Wyatt, former Drummer with Canterbury bands The Wilde Flowers and Soft Machine. Wyatt was in the process of making his second album with the band Matching Mole and Alfie contributed some (uncredited) backing vocals to Little Red Record.

In 1972 Alfie was invited to work in Venice

She was an assistant to the editor Graeme Clifford for Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now, starring Donald Sutherland and her friend Julie Christie. Robert accompanied her and it was there in Venice, whilst Alfie was working, that he wrote most of the music that became Rock Bottom.

Back in London Robert suffered an accident that left him paralysed from the waist down. His drumming days over, he set out on his solo path, and taking the unfinished compositions from his time with Alfie in Venice, recorded the album Rock Bottom. Alfie had become carer, driver, manager, lyricist, vocalist and album cover designer, working collaboratively with her husband for over 45 years until his retirement as a musician in 2016.

Her achievements as a musician and lyricist sit alongside her outstanding work as a visual artist

The cover artwork she created for all Wyatt's solo albums since 1974 gives shape and colour to the music, and the life, they made together.

BROWSE PRINTS BY ALFREDA BENGE

She has, on occasion, accepted cover art commissions from other musicians including Gravity by Fred Frith, Alice by Klimperei and Spanish Dance Troupe by Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and has illustrated two children's books written by Ivor Cutler.