Messenger - head and body credit Stewart Writtle.jpg

Stewart Writtle

Plymouth’s bronze sculpture ‘Messenger’ just weeks away from completion

The UK’s largest bronze sculpture, ‘Messenger’, is just weeks away from completion.

All the main components have been cast and the final stages of brazing are well underway.

The potential dates for her installation outside the Theatre Royal Plymouth are set to be unveiled next month.

The seven-metre (23ft) tall and nine metre (30ft) wide figure is the largest lost wax bronze sculpture ever to be made in the UK.

Craftsmen at the Welsh foundry where she is being created will spend the next few weeks attaching her head and right arm before finishing the final patina colouring.

Chris Butler, managing director of Castle Fine Art Foundry, said: “We are nearly there. There is still a lot to do but all the individual sections are cast and the internal structure is complete apart from the torso.

“There are so many different elements that need to be dealt with so it has been a pretty unusual project – aside from the overall scale of the piece itself. It’s the sheer complexity of getting the facets to marry together and get the general form right, as well as the logistics of moving huge lumps of bronze around. But all the elements are now constructed and the internal stainless steel super structure, which essentially holds her together, is now inside the legs, arms and hips.”

Once completed, a dry run will be carried out to test the technicalities of lifting and manoeuvring her in preparation for final installation.

Then she will be broken down into four sections (torso and head, her two legs and the long arm) for the 270-mile journey to Plymouth from the foundry in Llanrhaeadr-Ym-Mochnant.

A team of five workers from Castle Fine Art Foundry will spend up to two weeks reassembling her in Plymouth.

Final installation outside the Theatre is then likely to take a number of days.

Messenger’s creator, Cornish-born sculptor Joseph Hillier, was back at the foundry this week to get an update on the progress.

He said: “We are getting very close now and in February I think we will be ready to announce her likely installation dates. It really is fantastic to see and within the next couple of months she’ll finally be in her new home outside the Theatre Royal Plymouth.”