Friday, May 31, 2013

Clay 2

I now build the body up anatomically...

...and problem areas start to show up...for example, the turn of the right hip and the feel of the right shoulder.  It has to look as if he is delicately holding the the modelling session, the model started to lean on the divider mock-up, which is just a triangle of wood, and so distorted the feeling in the shoulders.  This movement begins in the shoulder.

In general, I am happy with the proportions and composition.

Now I have identified the problem areas, I will have another session with the model this weekend.

Once the anatomy is right, I will begin to add drapery.

fragment of history

In the 18 months following September 1792, when Louis XVI was relieved of his head, 16,594 people or 'enemies of the revolution' were guillotined in France.

Madame Tussaud sees a gap in the market.

French Revolutionary War begins after France declares war on Great Britain, The Netherlands and Spain.

After returning to England from his voyage with Captain Bligh, Matthew re-joins HMS Bellerophon and rises to the rank of senior midshipman.  The task was to protect the English shore from French ships.  


Paganini gives his first concert aged 11.
Marie Antoinette and Madame du Barry are guillotined.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Starting the clay

The clay goes on for the first draft.

I concentrate on proportions, movement and compositional rhythms...

....and check that the armature is in the correct place.

In every figure, there are always a few areas that present problems.  I will start identifying them tomorrow as the form fills out and resolves. I have planned this maquette meticulously, but there will be surprises.

fragment of history


With Captain Bligh, Matthew navigates the Torres Strait for the first time.  He proves himself a worthy and courageous seaman.

Beethoven moves to Vienna and writes Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in Bb Maj

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Maquette armature

I like my maquette armatures flexible so that I can move the limbs around.  So that it doesn't collapse and distort when the clay goes on, I tie the armature to a rigid back iron (pictured) which is, in turn, bolted to the base board.

I then attach expanded aluminium wire of varying thicknesses to the back iron making sure to leave myself plenty of excess material to lengthen limbs if needed.  The wire must eventually run through the middle of the  clay form.

You have probably noticed that he looks a little leggy here....this is because I have added 20mm to the heights to allow for the base modelling.  I will make the base deeper than it will eventually be for two reasons: for flexibility so that I can lengthen him downwards as well as up and, when it comes to levelling the bronze, it is easier to grind the metal down than add to it.

If you can see the figure in the armature, chances are it is in the right place.

fragment of history


Matthew joins HMS Dictator and, later, HMS Providence under Captain William Bligh for Bligh's second Breadfruit Voyage.  Here they are anchored off Venus Point in Tahiti, so called because, in 1769, Captain Cook had observed the transit of Venus from here, as it passed between earth and the sun.

French painter Gericault dies

Mozart write his requiem in D Minor and dies in the same year

Monday, May 27, 2013

Maquette base board

Here is the .25 life-size maquette base board. 41.2 cm dia.  If you look closely, you will see where the left foot will go (about 10 o clock).  The constellations are plans for the armature.  For example, the cross at 6 o clock is the angle of the pelvic girdle, the line coming off towards the foot is the upper thigh and so on.  To plot my armature, I plumb the points up to certain heights.

fragment of history

Matthew Flinders joins The Royal Navy.   His name is recorded on HMS Alert, but this was, most likely, shoe-horned into the log in order to give him the provenance necessary to secure a future posting.
He arrived on board HMS Scipio in 1790, so it must have worked.  I once manipulated my own CV  in my twenties so I have nothing but sympathy for novices trying this kind of thing on to get a foothold.

Model board

This is the 'life-size' revolving base board for the model.  165 cm dia.  The fragile stickers are to warn the model not to put any weight on the outer rim and avoid tipping.
The model (who prefers not to be shown on a public blog), came to sit on Sunday 26th May.  Once he was posed, I took some reference photographs and basic measurements.  Many of the dimensions involve points which are marked on the large board as a plumb line and height.  For example, to find the angle of the shoulders, I drop plumb lines from each side and mark them on the board with accompanying heights.  To re-create this in the maquette, I make a board 4 times smaller (see on bottom right of photograph and details in next post)), scale my my grid lines and find the same points at .25 life-size.  Of course, this is not an exact science, but it is good enough to make a fairly accurate armature (steel frame for the clay to be modelled over) for the maquette with enough room to move the form about.

fragment of history

1774.  On 16th March, Matthew Flinders is born in Donington, Lincolnshire, UK.  This is the landscape he grew up looking at.


I have chosen to portray Matthew Flinders at work and in the clothes he would have worn on an everyday basis to carry out his exhaustive mapping of the coastline of Australia. The bronze base will take the form of a relief made up from a graphic image of his final map, and mapping and navigational instruments. His constant companion, a cat called Trim, features in the design.
The sculpture, which will be one and a quarter times life size, is to be placed so that Flinders' eyes will be at the same level as those of a standing viewer.

fragment of history

1770.  On 29th April, Captain Cook is the first European to make landfall on the continent of Australia at what is now known as Botany Bay.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Purchasing a maquette...

From the Government of South Australia

Purchasing a limited edition maquette

In addition to the Matthew Flinders Memorial Statue at Euston Station, Mark Richards is producing 75 limited edition maquettes.  The maquettes will be cast in bronze and be approximately 30 cm high x 34 cm diameter.  Each will weigh in the region of 13 kg.
Individually numbered and signed maquettes can be purchased by organisations and individuals for £4,500.00 plus VAT (shipping costs outside of UK are extra, typically £270.70).

Proceeds from maquette purchases will be used to fund the Matthew Flinders Memorial Statue and associated costs. Any surplus funds will be provided to Flinders University, Adelaide.
To secure your strictly limited edition maquette please contact Jan Gausden at the Government of South Australia on ph.  +44 (0)20 7520 9100 or email 
After receiving confirmation that a strictly limited edition maquette is still available you will be issued an invoice for payment.  On receipt of payment in full your purchase will be confirmed.
All purchasers of maquettes will be invited to attend the unveiling of the Matthew Flinders Memorial Statue on Friday, 18th July 2014, as well as the reception that will follow (invitation only).
Purchasers of maquettes and other donors will be publicly acknowledged unless they instruct otherwise.
Making a donation
A great many organisations and individuals have expressed an interest in giving financially to the Matthew Flinders Memorial Statue.  All financial gifts are received with gratitude.

Donations in the United Kingdom can be made through the South Australian Office of the Agent-General:
  • Cheques should be made payable to the Government of South Australia (Level 3, Australia Centre, Strand, WC2B 4LG) with a covering letter referencing the ‘Matthew Flinders Memorial Statue’.
  • Funds may be transferred directly into the following account with payment reference ‘Matthew Flinders Memorial Statue’:
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland
    A/C Number: 12292609
    Sort Code: 16-00-34
    IBAN: GB47 RBOS 1600 3412 2926 09
    BIC: RBOS GB 2L 
Donations in Australia can be made through the Flinders University of South Australia:              
  • Cheques should be made payable to Flinders University  (GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia) with a covering letter referencing the ‘Matthew Flinders Memorial Statue’.
  • Credit card payments may be made over the phone through the Marketing Communications Office of Flinders University on ph.  +61 8 8201 3707
The development of the Matthew Flinders Memorial Statue can be followed at:
Further information is available at: