THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM
Neil talking about The Spirit of Freedom
Initial Client: States of Guernsey
Dimensions: 350cm x 115cm x 50cm (h x w x d)
Site: Not installed – see text
The Spirit of Freedom
This sculpture started life as my entry to an open international sculpture competition set up by the government of the island of Guernsey, one of the British Channel Islands.
It was intended to symbolise the release of the island from the German occupation in the 1939-45 world war and was to be sited in the centre of the roundabout by the harbour in St Peter Port.
Incredibly I actually won the competition and my commission was proudly announced in the Guernsey Press (the 200 year-old national newspaper) but then ‘the powers that be’ had a change of heart and the work was never commissioned! It happens! Disappointments and rejection are a fairly regular part of any artist’s life so one moves on!
The maquette at about 125cms had been admired over many years so I decided recently, in late 2014, that I would have it enlarged. I worked with a very well known agrandisseur, my friend Richard Clarke. His studio is a few miles from mine, just outside Chichester in West Sussex.
For this sculpture the enlarging was done using a traditional pantograph and the enlarged work, three times the original, was laboriously made in clay from which piece moulds were taken to produce patterns for sand casting.
The work was produced at Castle who have foundry facilities in Stroud and Liverpool as well as in Wales.
The enlarged sculpture is 350cm high x 115cm wide x 50cm deep and weighs 300kg (11’5″ x 3’9″ x 1’8″ and 660 pounds).
The finished work in cast bronze, is patinated and then waxed in the foundry before installation. From start to finish the whole process takes many months; in reality often probably the best part of a year to make. As a sculptor one learns tenacity and patience!