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Figurative Sculpture, Statuary and the Human Form

The ability to work in three dimensions; seeing the potential finished piece within the uncarved block: these are the attributes that set the sculptor aside from the woodcarver. Add to this an understanding of the human form and these are the skills required to produce figurative sculpture.

To perform this well a keen eye is essential. Success is capturing the expression on a beautiful face, or the poise held within one moment of a graceful movement. A few millimetres may dictate the difference between this success and unmitigated disaster.

Following a keen interest in historical design, particularly of the ancient Classical period, and of ecclesiastical sculpture, Michael draws on this richness of traditional craftsmanship and artistry in his sculpture and design. In animal form also, historical design provides a great source of inspiration; in the stylisation of form, the representation of features such as hair and feathers.

The female depicted is one of six carved by the workshop for Caius College, Cambridge University. Standing 14" high, it is a 3/4-scale representation in Classical Romanesque form, carved in English Oak. The Madonna and Child, following traditional ecclesiastical form, is 50" tall, carved in Limewood.

The eagle shown here with wings displayed is a fine example of the stylisation that evolved in seventeenth century carving. It is one of two carved by us as the supports for a pair of eagle console tables, following an antique design. Although the carving is full of life and movement, its form is almost entirely stylistic. Claws and feathers are carved very boldly, using shadow to create contrast to great visual effect. The eagle has been given knees, and the beak is deliberately enhanced, capturing a sense of the power of the animal.