Our Sculpture Near Completion

Plymouth's giant sculpture nearing completion

The true scale of Plymouth’s giant bronze sculpture is beginning to unfold as the lower section of the sculpture is revealed for the first time.

While the sculpture is still a few months away from completion, her lower half and legs have now been welded together, weighing in at a whopping three tonnes.

Such is the scale of the piece, workers at the Welsh foundry where she is being built had to attach her right leg outside because she was too big to manoeuvre inside their giant workshop.

Our Sculpture Near Completion
Chris Jones and Joseph Hillier with the sculpture

The sculpture’s creator, artist Joseph Hillier, returned to the foundry last month to see how work was progressing.

He said: “Driving towards the foundry I was quite excited as this was the first time I was seeing her in her true form. It’s the scale – it kind of hits you, but what surprised me is that, for such a large piece, she feels very light on her feet.

“I think we are so used to seeing monumental figures in rooted poses, especially in contemporary sculpture, so it is exciting to see her in this tentative and energetic pose.”

Our Sculpture Near Completion
A hint of just how big the sculpture will be

Work is underway on welding the other sections of the sculpture together, with more than 200 panels cast in bronze to create her. Patination to give the sculpture its final finish and colour will take place once this has been completed.

Chris Jones, commercial director of Castle Fine Art Foundry, said: “For me, although we’ve been constructing it, this is the first time I’ve seen it outside in the flesh. The scale is just phenomenal. It is an incredible thing.

“This project has been a nice marriage between the advances of computer technology mixed with the ancient technique of lost wax casting principles.”

Chris believes that when she’s complete, the sculpture will be the biggest lost wax bronze sculpture in the country putting Plymouth firmly on the cultural map.

Our Sculpture Near Completion
Chris and Joseph discuss the foundations

Chris Butler, managing director of Castle Fine Art Foundry, added: “When you introduce something on this scale, people take time to get used to it.

“I think she will become very much part of the local community. It is the elegance of the piece, surprisingly so really. When the general public see it, I think they will take ownership of her.”

“It is great to see her coming together. She’s huge and we’re only really now seeing the true scale of what she will become,” he added.

Our Sculpture Near Completion
Part of the sculpture has to be made outside due to its size

The complexity of the form, surface detail and final finish of the sculpture mean the sculpture is now anticipated to be ready early next year. When she is complete, she will weigh eight tonnes and stand seven metres (23ft) and nine metres (30ft) wide. Joseph Hillier will be formally naming the sculpture in the next couple of months.

Photography credits: Andrew Fox (Main Image and Copy Images 1, 3, & 4) and Jayne Martin (Copy Image 2).