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March 12, 2013
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The important first stages of the Wallace statue have now been completed...

 

The first task in creating a statue is the construction of an accurate 'armature' (the skeleton onto which the plaster and clay is built). This has to be done very carefully, as the positioning of the armature will entirely determine how the statue ends up.

 

In order to create an accurate armature, I have been working with a male model (with the same physique as Wallace) and taking various measurements and reference photos.

 

1 - measurements.jpg'Tools of the trade' – callipers and plumb-lines are used to establish the precise position of various key points on the model (patella, wrists, elbows, acromion etc.)

 

Since I will be sculpting Wallace approximately 10% larger than life, all of these measurements and their positions have to be adjusted accordingly.

 

2 - sculpting platform.jpgThe Sculpting Platform – it is important that the sculpting platform not only be strong enough to support the finished clay sculpture (perhaps 200kg in weight), but it must also be mobile, so that the statue can be easily moved around for viewing at different angles.

 

3 - floor template.jpgThe Floor Template – the various key measurements are enlarged by 10% and then transferred to the sculpting platform for assisting with the creation of the armature.]

 

4 - armature construction.jpgSteel armature.

 

It's all coming along nicely!

 

More pictures next week...

 

A guest post by the sculptor Anthony Smith

 

Read the first post in this series:

 

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Background to the project

 

On the 15th July 2012 the Wallace Memorial Fund, with the enthusiastic support of its Patron, comedian and natural historian Bill Bailey, and its Treasurer, Wallace's grandson Richard, began a campaign to raise £50,000 for a life-size bronze statue of Wallace for the Museum to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wallace’s death in 2013. The campaign closed 7 months later on the 16th February 2013 and exactly £25,000 was raised.

 

Although the Wallace Fund's campaign has now ended the fundraising will continue until August 2013 thanks to the kind people who are organising the 2013 Ancestor's Trail. This year's event will be Wallace themed and the aim will be to try to raise the remaining £25,000 for the statue. In the meantime, the Wallace Fund has commissioned sculptor Anthony Smith to produce a model for the full statue as the Fund is optimistic that all the money will be raised in time. Anthony has kindly agreed to write a series of posts for this blog documenting the process of making the statue. The first of his posts is below.

 

Hello from the sculptor

 

As this is my first post about the Wallace statue, I should first say a little something about myself... My name is Anthony Smith and I am a British sculptor (now based in Amsterdam). Before I began my career as a sculptor, I studied biology at Cambridge University, specialising in animal behaviour and evolution. It was then, at the age of nineteen, that I bought my 1st edition copy of Alfred Russel Wallace's book Darwinism – and I have been fascinated by him ever since. It is therefore a huge honour and delight to have been commissioned to create a statue of Wallace (which is, of course, long overdue) and I can think of no better location for it than the wonderful Natural History Museum in London!

 

I will be following up this message with various posts and photos throughout the sculpting process, keeping everyone up-to-date with the progress of the statue. But at the moment I can let you know that I have begun the ground-work for the statue – constructing a mobile sculpting platform, and beginning work on the steel armature that will support the clay sculpture. Photos to follow in due course... watch this space!

 

For more information about myself and my previous work, feel free to visit my website.