Client: Seaward Properties
Size: 1.6m x 1.4m x 2.4m
Maquette Edition in Wood: Unlimited Edition
Maquette in Bronze: Edition of 8 (Casts available)
Enlarged Work in Bronze: Edition of 3 (3 of 3 is available to order)
When I first started to make sculpture in 1987, I had already honed my hand and eye skills for 24 years working as a dental surgeon. With a very large London practice specialising in aesthetically-pleasing rebuilding of badly damaged dentitions, we used advanced technically skilful gold /platinum/ porcelain bonded crowns and the then relatively new techniques of implantology. For some 40 years I looked after my patients and many became ‘friends and family’. I think we had 8000 patients in our files so we never stopped working at The Wilton Place Practice.
Sculpture arrived by the grace of God or by mistake. I suffered a needle stick injury and caught Hepatitis B and was confined to bed for nearly 4 months. My practice was cared for by my partners and my wonderful team and despite the doctors’ pessimism about the prognosis I managed to clear the virus and was able to return to work.
During my illness, confined to my room for weeks on end, I had called for some wooden slabs, some U shaped nails, some armature wire and some sculpture wax from Tiranti, a specialist outlet for sculpting materials.
I had been shown by a friend in Antibes, Kees Verkade, a Dutch sculptor, how to nail armature wire to a wooden base and then to add wax and find a shape appearing.
I did just that and unknown to me my sculpture career had begun. Sometime later, after I had a show mounted for me in Jermyn Street by the Waterman Gallery, it was suggested that I should try to find a signature or style. I began to use spherical heads and Nurture became one of the early works in my ‘Ballhead Series’.
The original maquette for Nurture was made in wax, only 15 inches high, in my studios at West Ashling and then Roger Parkes, a Chichester craftsman, worked on making an identical wooden model as the first step between the wax and the finished bronze. This was enlarged to nine feet high by Richard Clarke, the well-known sculptural enlarger at Donnington. He famously worked with the late Elizabeth Frink and also enlarged the heroic bronze work, more than 60 feet high, which Damien Hirst made for the courtyard of The Royal Academy Summer Show in 2010.
The final enlarged Nurture has also been cast in bronze and patinated by the internationally renowned Pangolin foundry in Chalford, Gloucestershire and was installed by them in Chichester on 21st January 2012. It was kindly commissioned by Barry Sampson of Seaward Properties. It is wonderful that these handmade works of art involve employment for so many British craftsmen. Pangolin alone employs more than 100 men and women full time making fine art sculpture for clients from across the world.
There was another very personal reason which I will share. I had suffered at 34 from testicular cancer, twice believe it or not, and I just had to have ‘the balls’ to keep going and beat the big C. This series of works (The Ballhead Series) is testament to being alive and well over 40 years later. I was blessed and healed and I have enjoyed every day since, once being told in 1972 that I probably had only 3 months to live. It concentrates the mind.
As a qualified Doctor, having trained in Medicine as well as in Dentistry I am naturally a caring human being. These works echo my love for life and for others.