ABOUT ME

Neil Lawson Baker – Sculptor

Neil Lawson Baker at Somerset House - September 2014 - portrait

This website tells you a little about me and I hope you can enjoy some of the stories and videos about my work.

If you want to find out more, please look on the menu at the articles and the London Live TV interview, which is fun and informative.

Spirit of Freedom - Bronze sculpture of a tall slim lady with very long arms aloft, holding up a dove of peace and about to set it free

From 1957 onwards, I was trained at Guys Hospital to be skilful as a London-based Dental Surgeon. I also read a degree in Medicine and Surgery at St Georges; certainly the long way round for any Sculptor to learn Anatomy!

Speak to us of Crime and Punishment

Dentistry is definitely an art form as well as a science.  While practising dentistry, I developed my passion for art, visiting galleries and acquiring contemporary art.  I became really interested in Rodin and his school as well as later, more contemporary schools.

A Chance Meeting…

My love of art was significantly enhanced by a chance meeting with Adrien Maeght.  I had entered the Paris – Nice vintage car rally in 1970 and Adrien was the organiser.  Through Adrien, I received invitations to visit the Galerie Maeght in Rue du Bac in Paris and later the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence to see works by Picasso, Miró, Léger, Calder, Arp and many others.  All these works had a huge influence over me and my artistic eye.

Neil Lawson Baker – from Dentist to Sculptor

My appreciation of the arts is wide ranging and the progression from Dental Surgery to Sculpture after over 40 years in practice, in a massively busy London practice, was, I found, really surprisingly easy.

I am now immersed in ‘The Arts’!

Learning to Sculpt

When I started sculpting, I was lucky enough to gain great experience very quickly.  My eye-hand co-ordination was naturally very developed as a surgeon, but it was helped immeasurably by a lesson from Kees Verkade in 1987 who showed me how to model properly in wax.

Extraordinary Exposure

About the same time, I met Eric Gibbard at the Burleighfield foundry as well.  He became my friend and mentor, taking me to meet Charles Pinellis at the famous Susse-Fondeurs foundry in Arcueil.  Eric and Burleighfield had done work for the Tate Gallery, Elizabeth Frink, Philip Jackson and Oscar Nemon as well as casting every Barbara Hepworth bronze after 1952.

So, I found myself working as a sculptor in the presence of great names like Frink and Chadwick who both cast with me at Burleighfield.  Nicky St Phalle was often alongside me at Haligon, who did many of my early aggrandisements in Paris.  And it is through these experiences that I have progressed and so much enjoyed making work for governments, corporations and collectors alike.

Dame Elisabeth Frink

Niki de St Phalle

It was an honour that Susse Fondeurs cast for me in Paris

‘My’ foundry team at Susse Fondeurs!

The foundry - some of the Morris Singer team. Neil is holding a newly patinated I Wish bronze sculpture

Susse Freres was set up as a fine art foundry in 1804, but is now sadly gone.  They are extremely highly regarded in the antique world, producing the very highest quality castings available.  They branched out to produce casings and ornaments for the finest French clocks and maquette-sized castings for collectors.  Art-deco maquettes by Susse Fondeurs are very highly sought after.  They also became known for their daguerrotypes – an early form of photography.  Here is an advertisement for the foundry and a title page from an early catalogue of theirs.

Patination on I Wish - bronze sculpture at Morris Singer - 2017

…and that Rhodia Dufet Bourdelle displayed my work, ‘STERLING’ in the Musée Bourdelle

The Musée Bourdelle

Sterling - bronze sculpture - 2.1m. Cast and polished by Susse Fondeurs. Paris

‘Sterling’

and I have worked with some of the best known UK foundries, Pangolin, Morris Singer, Castle, Burleighfield and Talos, all of whom have been a pleasure to be associated with.

The foundry - some of the Morris Singer team. Neil is holding a newly patinated I Wish bronze sculpture
Patination on I Wish - bronze sculpture at Morris Singer - 2017

I am very grateful for the direction in which life has taken me.  Now I would love you to enjoy looking at, and hopefully owning, some of my work.  I can’t stop designing and creating it and I work endlessly at new pieces and love to take commissions.

The Gibran Sculpture Series

In 1972, I went to visit the birthplace of Kahlil Gibran in the village of Bsharri in Lebanon and the famous Gibran Museum.  I have been fascinated by him, his drawings, his creativity and his philosophy from that day to this.

I have created several sculptures by way of a tribute to him over the years, all based on his poems in The Prophet, published in 1923.  A selection of them can be seen here.

Neil Lawson Baker – Sculptor and Painter

As a painter…

I ‘dabbled’ as a painter when I was a teenager, but rather let it drop once I left school.  In 2003, I took it up again and started painting prolifically.  Painting has taken something of a back seat recently simply, because sculpting has re-emerged through Gibran, but you will find a selection of my paintings shown elsewhere on the website, many of which are for sale and I am always very happy to undertake commissions.  The work is almost exclusively abstract, and I have tended to prefer vibrant colours, using watercolour, acrylic and Conté.

Very brightly coloured stylised caricature of a dodo standing and looking to the left

Outside the Studio

When I’m not sculpting, I have many other interests.  As a young man, I played saxophone in a swing band, raced classic cars and competed in three-day events.  From a teenager I have always dabbled in painting and drawing and the advent of digital photography led me to high resolution photography as a fine art form. I’m particularly proud of my shots of Venice, Buenos Aires and London.

I have tried to contribute to the furtherance of art outside my studio too. In 2006, I was appointed to the board of The Arts Club in London and in 2007, I was appointed chairman of the Trustees of the Chichester Art Trust, which managed and staged the National Open Art Competition and its exhibitions both in Chichester and in London.

In 2016, I started writing children’s stories.  They are fun, fictional stories about a veterinary surgeon hired by a queen on a faraway planet to look after the animals in her zoo and led to my opening a not-for-profit online safari park to encourage childrens’ creativity and to make them aware of the plight of Endangered Species.  The planet is called Bowdleflodeland and the inhabitants are known as The Bowdleflodes and you can find out all about them here.

I completed my role as Chairman of the Chichester Art Trust and National Open Art in 2018.

Neil at work

At work in the foundry on Tête en Famille

The Shepherd's Hut at The Graingers' Stones - a stone circle in the field at Graingers Cottage with a Shepherd's Hut in the background.

The Sussex Stone Circle

Photo of the inside of the Graingers Gallery with sculpture, paintings and artistic photographs.

Part of my studios.

Email me.

Text or call: +44 (0) 7802 896073

I very much look forward to hearing from you, or even seeing you, at my Chichester Sculpture Gallery.

A resin version of the sculpture I Wish, finished to look like marble. Behind is a painting of Neil's wife Grace, with windows either side and shelves full of bronze maquettes on the left wall.
The back of The Breadth of Mankind - work in progress. The clay model for the bronze sculpture - rear view, taken inside the enlargement workshop.
I Wish - the original clay sculpture. The first step in preparation for the bronze sculpture.

NLB Signature

PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGES IN THE SCULPTURE LIBRARY TO SEE VIDEOS

ABOUT ME

Neil Lawson Baker – Sculptor

Neil Lawson Baker at Somerset House - September 2014 - portrait

This website tells you a little about me and I hope you can enjoy some of the stories and videos about my work.

If you want to find out more, please look on the menu at the articles and the London Live TV interview, which is fun and informative.

Spirit of Freedom - Bronze sculpture of a tall slim lady with very long arms aloft, holding up a dove of peace and about to set it free

From 1957 onwards, I was trained at Guys Hospital to be skilful as a London-based Dental Surgeon. I also read a degree in Medicine and Surgery at St Georges; certainly the long way round for any Sculptor to learn Anatomy!

Speak to us of Crime and Punishment

Dentistry is definitely an art form as well as a science.  While practising dentistry, I developed my passion for art, visiting galleries and acquiring contemporary art.  I became really interested in Rodin and his school as well as later, more contemporary schools.

Neil Lawson Baker – from Dentist to Sculptor

My love of art was significantly enhanced by a chance meeting with Adrien Maeght.  I had entered the Paris – Nice vintage car rally in 1970 and Adrien was the organiser.  Through Adrien, I received invitations to visit the Galerie Maeght in Rue du Bac in Paris and later the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence to see works by Picasso, Miró, Léger, Calder, Arp and many others.  All these works had a huge influence over me and my artistic eye.

My appreciation of the arts is wide ranging and the progression from Dental Surgery to Sculpture after over 40 years in practice, in a massively busy London practice, was, I found, really surprisingly easy.

I am now immersed in ‘The Arts’!

Learning to Sculpt

When I started sculpting, I was lucky enough to gain great experience very quickly.  My eye-hand co-ordination was naturally very developed as a surgeon, but it was helped immeasurably by a lesson from Kees Verkade in 1987 who showed me how to model properly in wax.

Extraordinary Exposure

About the same time, I met Eric Gibbard at the Burleighfield foundry as well.  He became my friend and mentor, taking me to meet Charles Pinellis at the famous Susse-Fondeurs foundry in Arcueil.  Eric and Burleighfield had done work for the Tate Gallery, Elizabeth Frink, Philip Jackson and Oscar Nemon as well as casting every Barbara Hepworth bronze after 1952.

So, I found myself working as a sculptor in the presence of great names like Frink and Chadwick who both cast with me at Burleighfield.  Nicky St Phalle was often alongside me at Haligon, who did many of my early aggrandisements in Paris.  And it is through these experiences that I have progressed and so much enjoyed making work for governments, corporations and collectors alike.

A colour photo of Dame Elisabeth Frink with one of her Goggleheads

Dame Elisabeth Frink

Niki de St Phalle

It was an honour that Susse Fondeurs cast for me in Paris…

‘My’ foundry team at Susse Fondeurs!

The foundry - some of the Morris Singer team. Neil is holding a newly patinated I Wish bronze sculpture

Susse Freres was set up as a fine art foundry in 1804, but is now sadly gone.  They are extremely highly regarded in the antique world, producing the very highest quality castings available.  They branched out to produce casings and ornaments for the finest French clocks and maquette-sized castings for collectors.  Art-deco maquettes by Susse Fondeurs are very highly sought after.  They also became known for their daguerrotypes – an early form of photography.  Here is an advertisement for the foundry and a title page from an early catalogue of theirs.

Patination on I Wish - bronze sculpture at Morris Singer - 2017

and that Rhodia Dufet Bourdelle displayed my work, ‘STERLING’ in the Musée Bourdelle

The Musée Bourdelle

Sterling - bronze sculpture - 2.1m. Cast and polished by Susse Fondeurs. Paris

‘Sterling’

…and I have worked with some of the best known UK foundries, Pangolin, Morris Singer, Castle, Burleighfield and Talos, all of whom have been a pleasure to be associated with.

The foundry - some of the Morris Singer team. Neil is holding a newly patinated I Wish bronze sculpture
Patination on I Wish - bronze sculpture at Morris Singer - 2017

I am very grateful for the direction in which life has taken me.  Now I would love you to enjoy looking at, and hopefully owning, some of my work.  I can’t stop designing and creating it and I work endlessly at new pieces and love to take commissions.

The Gibran Sculpture Series

In 1980, I went to visit the birthplace of Kahlil Gibran in the village of Bsharri in Lebanon and the famous Gibran Museum.  I have been fascinated by him, his drawings, his creativity and his philosophy from that day to this.

I have created several sculptures by way of a tribute to him over the years, all based on his poems in The Prophet, published in 1923.  A selection of them can be seen here.

Neil Lawson Baker – Sculptor and Painter

As a painter…

I ‘dabbled’ as a painter when I was a teenager, but rather let it drop once I left school.  In 2003, I took it up again and started painting prolifically.  Painting has taken something of a back seat recently simply, because sculpting has re-emerged through Gibran, but you will find a selection of my paintings shown elsewhere on the website, many of which are for sale and I am always very happy to undertake commissions.  The work is almost exclusively abstract, and I have tended to prefer vibrant colours, using watercolour, acrylic and  Conté.

Very brightly coloured stylised caricature of a dodo standing and looking to the left

Outside the Studio

When I’m not sculpting, I have many other interests.  As a young man, I played saxophone in a swing band, raced classic cars and competed in three-day events.  From a teenager I have always dabbled in painting and drawing and the advent of digital photography led me to high resolution photography as a fine art form. I’m particularly proud of my shots of Venice, Buenos Aires and London.

I have tried to contribute to the furtherance of art outside my studio too. In 2006, I was appointed to the board of The Arts Club in London and in 2007, I was appointed chairman of the Trustees of the Chichester Art Trust, which managed and staged the National Open Art Competition and its exhibitions both in Chichester and in London.

In 2016, I started writing children’s stories.  They are fun, fictional stories about a veterinary surgeon hired by a queen on a faraway planet to look after the animals in her zoo and led to my opening a not-for-profit online safari park to encourage childrens’ creativity and to make them aware of the plight of Endangered Species.  The planet is called Bowdleflodeland and the inhabitants are known as The Bowdleflodes and you can find out all about them here.

I completed my role as Chairman of the Chichester Art Trust and National Open Art in 2018.

Neil at work

At work in the foundry on Tête en Famille

The Shepherd's Hut at The Graingers' Stones - a stone circle in the field at Graingers Cottage with a Shepherd's Hut in the background.

The Sussex Stone Circle

The Shepherd's Hut at The Graingers' Stones - a stone circle in the field at Graingers Cottage with a Shepherd's Hut in the background.

Part of my studios.

Email me.

Text or call: +44 (0) 7802 896073

I very much look forward to hearing from you at my Chichester Sculpture Gallery.

I Wish - sculpture in resin with trompe l'oeuil marbling
The back of The Breadth of Mankind - work in progress. The clay model for the bronze sculpture - rear view, taken inside the enlargement workshop.
I Wish - the original clay sculpture. The first step in preparation for the bronze sculpture.

NLB Signature

PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGES IN THE SCULPTURE LIBRARY TO SEE VIDEOS

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