• INCOMPARABLE WORKS OF ART IN FINEST MARBLE

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THE LOST ART OF SCULPTING IN MARBLE

MARBLE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF STONES

Alan Birkinshaw  (Photo taken in China’s Forbidden City)

In a career spanning several decades, Alan Birkinshaw has been immersed in the art of storytelling. Having written screenplays for the cinema and directed several major feature films with international stars, Alan has now turned his attention to storytelling using the oldest known visual medium of all – the medium of stone.
And more specifically, marble.
Marble, the purest of stones, has the texture and density to provide
the perfect ‘canvas’ for storytelling – even in 21st Century Britain with it’s e-readers and electronic gizmos.

‘Our stories are just as uplifting and exciting as any of those recorded by the Ancient Greeks or Romans,’ says Alan ‘and if we want them to be remembered in the centuries to come, we better find some way of guaranteeing their preservation, because it only needs an electricity wipe-out on a catastrophic scale, and every single word and visual image not set in stone will simply vanish. For ever.’

Alan’s interest in using the medium of marble to tell a story came about when he was commissioned to produce a marble frieze, one and a half metres in height, and stretching over 30 metres in length, telling the story of Alexander the Great’s Triumphal Journey into Babylon. It involved the hand carving in pure white marble, of animals and children, fisherman and musicians, and Alexander himself on his Chariot followed by his army of soldiers, an elephant, and his favourite horse, Bucephalus.
‘This was a great challenge for me,’ says Alan, ‘but we did it and the end result is simply breathtaking.’

Bucephalus (Alexander the Great’s War Horse. An image from the frieze.)

When we set about recreating some of the world’s most famous sculptures, we were unsure how it would work out. Could we possibly re-create statues that were carved by the world renowned masters of sculpture?

Well, the short answer is yes. We can and we did. We copied Canovas and Thorvaldsens and Rodins, to name but a few. And the reason we were able to produce almost exact copies of the originals was because we have access to some of the best marble carvers in the world, and because of the preparation and time we spent ensuring the models we worked from were identical in every way possible, to the original.

The process is that we make a clay model using specialist clay modellers, and when the clay model is as perfect as it possibly can be, we take a mould and produce a fibre glass copy of that. This copy is taken into the marble yard where our skilled carvers begin their work using the time honoured tradition of pointers. These enable the carvers to achieve every element of the sculpture identical in every way to the clay model and the original sculpture.

The Four Hebes WIP copy

Watching the stone being carved is like watching a miracle being performed. What starts off as a block of ordinary looking stone, slowly transmogrifies into a living being. Living as in marble living. Because stone is a living entity. And our sculptures certainly take on a life of their own. Just like the originals.

Once the carving process is complete, the sculpture is put into the hands of polishers and that is where the beauty is allowed to shine through.

Unlike a sculpture in a museum, or any other work of art for that matter, where the audience are discouraged from getting too close or touching the piece, if you own your own sculpture, you can interact with it. You can talk to it. You can feel the beautiful contours of the marble. Feel the smoothness of the limbs. Marble has a cool feel to it which is unlike any other stone.

And now what? ‘Well, I’d like to do a ‘Hero Wall’, or ‘Wall of Fame’. For example, David Beckham’s life story would be a good one. The history of British Grand Prix racing is another. And then there are the Olympic Champions. The possibilities are endless. It just needs people with vision and imagination to commission them.’

‘One last word on the subject. That’s me under the hat putting my mark on the carving of a wall which when erected will be over thirty four feet high and will stretch several kilometres in length.
It tells the story of Kubla Khan and Marco Polo going on a hunt. Now if that isn’t inspiration enough for someone to commission a more modest wall here in the UK, I don’t know what is!

So what are we waiting for?’

 

For further information on any of our pieces, dont hesitate to Contact Us.

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INTERIOR DESIGN

Marble Icons are working closely with interior designers and architects on indoor and outdoor projects where hand carved statuary in pure marble and granite is being used.

Classical recreations in marble in particular are available from Marble Icons, to a quality not seen for generations. These pieces are viewed by specialists in interior design as being as relevant in spacious modern apartments as they are in hotels, yachts or the entrance halls or drawing rooms of country houses.

We are continually developing our range of classical and contemporaty marble statues and we can now undertake commissions for works from either existing designs or clients own concepts. Swimming pools, grand halls and conservatories a speciality.

If you require any further information about our work or you would like to commission a piece for private or corporate use, please Contact us.

THE ART OF THE IMPOSSIBLE

Marble Icons has set itself the goal of recreating, in perfect marble in white or many colours, or other valuable stone, the beautiful images which are at the core of the history of art.

Marble Icons choice of sculptures of the Greats is absolutely unique throughout the world ..…and we will work with clients who have specific requirements whether it be by size or material such as white, black or even green marble.

How do we achieve our goal of matching the original work without the help of casts from the original?

  • Firstly we research the original art held in museums in absolute detail.
  • Secondly we produce clay models equivalent in every detail to the original. This process is immensely time consuming as our specialists work towards perfection with the modeler.
  • We then identify the perfect block of marble which in the case of full sized or multiple figure statues might weigh several tonnes.
  • We then hew by hand from the raw marble, until the sculpture emerges to reprise the original work of art.
  • When the sculpture is considered as being as near perfect to the work of the piece in question, it is despatched to the buyer.
  • Marble Icons are currently working on their own original creations and soon these will become significant works of art in their own right.

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