Portraits all shapes and sizes, Doncaster Miners, Colossi and Sculptures for Australia……

I’ve been in Doncaster all week, working on portraits of the Mining community, in preparation for the large commission I’ve received, to create a sculpture for the town celebrating the MIning culture, that’s sadly  no more . This is part of the ‘Consultation’ phase but I’m beginning to think it might be a bit more than that!!

Danny Heaton runs the photography department along with Liz (forgive me Liz you’ll have to tell me your surname one day) at Doncaster College. They are energized motivated and making things happen.

We’ve advertised on face book and other social networks for members of the mining community to come forward and have themselves photographed by Danny’s students. I then choose ‘Heads’ from them and then once a month (from now on) spend two days modelling them in wax, for two hours, the sitting is filmed and live streamed by film students, (brilliant!) The sitters tell their story, I listen and model in wax a small head, its strangely fascinating, even for me..

This all came out of a conversation with my son, who told me Rodin went to Calais to model the citizenry in preparation for the Burghers of Calais commission. This I thought was a lovely idea and a great way to get to know the community, and so it has proved.


Here are the heads still in wax transported in a bucket of water from Doncaster…




This is Steve, he was a ‘Fitter’ mechanic, often on his own deep underground. Now at 67 a keen cyclist and runner who did the Three peak challenge in 4hrs 50 minutes last year!!!

I love this kindly head..

steve bw72


steve 2


steve 72


steve 4



steve smiles72



steve 5


Keith gold


This is Keith a proud ‘Goldthorpe’ miner, He brought me a ‘Nadge’ (A beautiful axe cum lump hammer for striking through the corrugated lining of the tunnels to make manholes in the sides) Married to Lyn a policewoman, who served throughout the strikes. Lovliest of couples and warm kind people.

keith gol


Here’s Keith and I on the live feed screen HQ!




keith gld2




This Joan Hart a famous ‘Pit Nurse’,  85 now, she has written a book of her experiences, nervous to start with, soon started to tell me what she thought of me and my oral wax. habits!..


joan Hart72




keith allsopp

Keith Allsopp  big character came with his  lovely wife Suzanne, hilarious stories of mining folk, vivid depictions of Pit Ponie racing miles underground with only the lights on their helmets to show the way.  Finger missing, lover of Dimple Whiskey!


modeeling keith72keith alssopp72keith allsopp72keith allsopp fini 72


keilth alssopp



10 year old Conner Hughes was Mick Lanaghan’s grandson, Mick’s a pillar and font of knowledge of the mining community, He mined at Hatfield, the only Pit Head still standing. told of migrant communities and Gypsies.


Conner hughes72





Rachel Horne, a ‘Strike baby’, now an activist and editor of ‘Doncapolitan’, a magazine serving Doncaster dealing with social issues, serving as a mouthpiece and platform for the vibrant culture in the area.


We’re going to cast the heads and the next 6, and show them together with the photographic portraits in an empty shop in ‘Frenchgate’ the main shopping centre of th e town, i’ll also be showing the proposals for the finished work.. at the moment i’m thinking it may feature many many portraits.. i’m really quite escitied..

Here are the links to the films made during the sittings…


I’m returning in Feb to do another 6…so if you area miner  in the Doncaster area get in touch with Danny  daniel.heaton@don.ac.uk and get your photo taken..we really want to hear from you..




Meanwhile back at the foundry The  26ft Colossus is nearing the end of his first phase in the foundry.. next he has to be covered in plaster, then I start modelling the plaster.. here are some of the team at his feet..photographed by Bill Jackson..




`This is the bronze maquette.



This is a plaster head over six-foot high, I’ve made him in order to practice the modelling and surfacing work, but can’t resist ‘caring’ so now I quite like him and will be showing him alongside the large bronze heads I’ve made. Firstly at ‘The Alde Valley Spring Festival” in Glemham Suffolk, in April – May, then at Messums Wiltshire in May  -June as part of a show all about the ‘Head’ freaturing heads from antiquity to now.



Here are the bronze heads, called “Chthonic heads 1&2′

Chthonic heads 1&2Chthonic head 3Q_Chtnoic head side view


Here they are being modelled in clay, to give you a sense of scale.



Bill spent a few frosty mornings photographing in the Suffolk landscape, for the catalogues promoting the upcoming show in Messum’s ,Cork St, starting March 14th. and the Sydney show. We were trying to make it look a bit Australian, wide flat horizons and big sky’s.. frost gives it away a bit though, too good to ignore.


Chthonic Head 1head2heads2heads


Here are some of the other pieces Sydney bound, by no means all the works going, i’ll show you the others when the show starts..  Its taken a while to cast and collate them, i’m excited to see how they feel in Sydney..

The Carrier..


‘The Catcher’  14 ft wide..


The CarrierThe Carrier,,


Sylvan man(hev)


‘Sylvan Man’




Hands on Hips L

“Hands on Hips’ life size bronze.

Hands on Hips


'Top Step' oz one

Man on steps. life size figure..

'Top step' (verdigree oz one)

small study ‘`Long way down’

Crouching man5 (Long way down)


‘Feel the Heat 2’Feel The Heat 2


‘Feel the Heat 1’

Feel the heat 1


There are lots more but I fear I may bore you!!! I’ll update soon with Danny’s portraits of the miners , and of them sitting for me..scrollo n for earlier postings…speak soon..


be safe be good…Lx



Giant – big – large -Sculpture bronze heads clay men, Temple and…………………Mines.


Well the giant  26 ft high figure is growing fast in polystyrene layers. Here’s a quick run of images of the last months activity,  which are hopefully self-explanatory, check a couple of postings back for more technical detail…

See below a poly layer having been cut out, then hollowed to fit around the steel frame. This is placed, pinned and then eventually plastered into position.. a long and fiddly process!



Thats me on his toe…



Once the layers are in place Tom ad Eva can start the carving , using kitchen knives and wire brushes, they painstakingly copy marks and shapes from the plaster sections of the figure..




The numbers are critical in locating positions. You can very quickly lose your bearings, at times you’re almost snow blind.. Tom and Eva have found the process surprisingly exhausting!!



Life goes on around the figure, there are lots of other projects on the go. The deadline for this figure to be delivered to site in bronze is 2020…


He’s now a constant presence.. toasted every week..



The modelling is slowly making its way down the front.. we’ve had to stop for a while  to prepare a show that’s going out to Australia. The show opens in Sydney on March 12th 2018, moving to Melbourne for April the 4th..  We have to get all the work crated and ready to go by sea by Christmas..



This head is one of the sculptures going, We have to work out plinths and colour after the finishing, then find a great location to photograph it.. same goes for a lot of the other work .. busy times!


Here’s some shots of a second casting of the head, One has been bought and needs to be delivered whilst the other is abroad!  Here you see the head in wax with the pouring channels fixed, accepting the first coat of grog and plaster, to be built up and eventually put in the kiln for the wax to melt out…leaving a head shaped hole for the bronze to flow into.


Meanwhile the six-foot figures commissioned for 6, 9ft Niches in an century Hall are underway, I’ll show them in detail next month, here are a couple of fun shots..



I’ve also won a commission to create a sculpture to celebrate the Mining history of Doncaster in Yorkshire. I’ve started the consultation phase , involving travelling to ‘Donny’ and talking to the mining communities  that surround it.

Also breaking into the last Mine still standing though long closed. Amazing experience these Pit Heads are important to the communities as significant as the medieval churches I love here in Suffolk.



They remind me of the paintings of Giorgio DeChirico



de chiride chiricoIMG_7901


Then I thought of those Iranian tombs, temples, Persepolis, Ur etc

Untitled-1tomb of cyrusIran


Miners Banners and the carved Trilingual of Xerxes!

IMG_8086trilingual inscription of Xerxes


The imagery is amazing as are the people I’m meeting its an exciting project.. you’ll see how it develops over the year….



That’s all folks.. thanks for hanging in there.. please sign up and be my friend!!!!!



Cannon Green Staircase bronze sculptures finished………………..


Well a month has gone and its been frantic.. I’m concentrating on one project for this posting.

The four life-size figures commissioned for Cannon Green a new building next to Cannon St Tube, it’s on Bush lane, find the Leon and you’ll see it.. you can go and see them , tell them Laurence sent you.. (office hours)

We’ll pick them up being put together in bronze.

Don’t worry this guy is perfectly happy!!IMG_7371


so is he..IMG_7366



Two ‘Stair climbers’ waiting to be welded together. The sections have been water jetted and rough finished.  Getting them balanced is going to be difficult, they are going straight onto concrete, so strength is a serious issue, we have to plan for ‘Wolf of Wall St’ type parties, three people climbing them etc ..at the same time keeping them looking spiritedly and in motion on the steps is a major undertaking, something I’ve been worrying about!!




Tom’s crafted serious lugs under the feet, to take 30 mm stainless studding that has to be drilled into the steps on site..



Figure coming together..


In at the deep end Ania Kwilecka came to work for the summer, she turned into a very good worker within the month,  She’s surfacing the bronxe with a fine chisel.



She made a subterranian bedroom in the boiler room under my Fire Station….



Nice back..



Harry came to help for a day… not sure he’ll want to come back!



John another new assistant heating up the now assembled figures in order to patinate them..



Here they stand ready for packing and photographing by Bill Jackson..



Relieved, the team celebrate, wine and crisps descend from above.. there’s a cake in there somewhere.. Ania’s leaving cake…



Here are Bill’s Photos of the finished bronzes..

The detail we’re getting now is amazing, the cloth on these figures reminds me of Tolland man,







He almost looks skinned!







So now for the installation..This is Cannon Green  27 Bush Lane, still under construction, a concrete staircase has been poured inside the glass entrance hall at the bottom..their home!!

2V2A8108 copy 2




We had to hire a big drill needing a water supply to cool the very expensive diamond tipped drills.. we had to drill through steel  re-bar aswell as high-grade concrete ..it took two days to install the sculptures.

IMG_7515 (1)IMG_7523IMG_7537IMG_7539IMG_7548IMG_7534



We wait to get the lighting right and the building finished to take the definitive photographs, beamed to you as soon as – you’ll be relieved to know..




Meanwhile I’ve got a little show in ‘The Crypt’ of Norwich School, poster and invite below.. I’m giving a talk on the 9th of November in the Blake studio at 6.15.. just incase you can’t read it., all welcome!

Laurence Edwards Final Invite



I’m also starting the process of making  public sculpture to celebrate mining in Doncaster. The public consultations start on the 10th of November, I’ll be giving talks in 5 of the 12 mining towns surrounding Doncaster over the weekend.

Then making portraits of twelve x miners form the area, it’ll be live streamed whilst it’s happening.. a show in the Museum gallery will be staged in the Spring where I’ll present the final idea.. and a book will be launched, keep an eye out .. they’re a passionate people, I was happily surprised to meet a small delegation of concerned  x miners at the press launch.. more to follow …next time



Thats it.. goodnight and farewell..







TheBig sculpture scale up begins!

OK just to remind you , we are making a 26 ft high figure, in bronze.. by far the most massive thing we’ve ever done, I’ll be taking you through the creation of this giant, in various blogs over the next three years, so the answers to your burning questions will come in good time!!

Recap: Below is the model of the figure in plaster, being sliced on a bandsaw in order to get a series of layers to draw round on graph paper..found out why…..




Here are all the plaster slices stacked up and numbered,



Here’s Tom looking at the shapes traced on to graph paper, He is then carefully copying each one onto a  polystyrene sheet on which the graph paper has been scaled up.




Eva now jigsaw’s out the scaled up shapes,



Here’s the top of the thighs



They are stored carefully!




Dan takes the offcuts to be responsibly disposed of.. I see a new sculpture coming!




Ania Eva and Dan (whose last day this is) rest after a hard days work..  Thanks for all your hard work this summer Dan!




Meanwhile Tom has started to grapple with the steel structure which will support the edifice.. A large section hands unnervingly from the ceiling, which has had to be reinforced, as the weight of the whole thing will likely buckle the roof!!


The leg section lies on the floor waiting to be winched into position..




It fits perfectly all Toms mathematics and planning has paid off!  He now starts to fit the poly sections..


Holes are cut in the centre of the poly , and plaster will be used to fix each one to the steel armature.. creating a surprisingly solid structure


The body section waits to be installed, But we leave it at this stage for now, as we have four bronze figures to finish who will be climbing a beautiful staircase in Cannon St London.. that’ll be the next blog..


That was a shorter pithier blog.. I am attempting shorter more frequent blogs from now on.. unless you want them longer?

Follow me please.. look at the website and let me know what you think..


have a good day ..

Body in the water: ‘A Thousand Tides’ causes a fuss!

“Bronze sculpture mistaken for body in the water” BBC online


The BBC got in touch with me whilst in France to report that the Coastguard, Police and Fire Service had been called out to my figure lying in the water at Butley Creek.

I would like to apologise to the Emergency services for distracting them from their important work. and to the distressed member of the public who reported a body on Tuesday.   I would also like to thank the artists of Butley Mills Studios, who fielded angry Coastguards and Police.

The story has been on BBC online, Look East, Radio, the Telegraph amongst others.



The Sculpture was buried in the Creek over 18 months ago, (weirdly about a thousand tides ago!) and is supposed to sink slowly into the mud, It was a parting gesture to a loved landscape which had abutted my studio at Butley for over 14 years. It was intended to echo the Saxon ship burials of the area (Sutton Hoo and Snape) and the bronze age hordes discovered in neighbouring fields, now at Orford Museum.


'A Thousand tides'2



The figure disappears under the water with every tide and re emerges when the water recedes. I see it as an ablutive (purifying) process, cleansing a calm caressing. This tenderness expresses perfectly my relationship with the Suffolk Coast, a relationship captured beautifully in books such as Julian Tennysons ‘A Suffolk Scene’.  (A book that mirrors many of my experiences exploring these marshlands in my youth.)


The Creek at High tide, the figure under the water.


The sculpture’s harmony with the environment is often recorded by visitors, who send me images of their experience, these ones from John Esling. Showing the birds of the area making use of him.





This is a  long exposure through a pin hole camera created by artist Laura Ellenberger. The exposure lasted a month, day, night – high, low tide…the figure becomes a ghostly haze.

pin hole tide man


The burying of him was a performance in itself, . We had to build a raft with a hole in it for him to be lowered through and into position. When he entered the water he bubbled as  air escaped, he turned golden like a giant fish as he descended,  the bubbles continued to issue for some time,  a powerful experience.




Making him was also an emotional experience, I usually model figures upright, they therefore become a kind of equivalent to me. Modelling a supine figure changed the relationship, he was like a patient and I the doctor, he seemed vulnerable and when holding his hand I felt as though I should read his pulse, he peered over his chest at me working on him as if to ask what I was doing to him. This relationship, I feel, continues in the marsh. ‘Where am I going’?



A good film has been made of the project by Film maker Phil Cairney, here’s the link



looking on b&W

I am in talks with the Coastguard at the moment, their initial response is for me to remove the work, I have suggested some buoys would signify its presence as an object and not a body. I await their decision.

Removing an object like this isolated and  a long way out from land, and away from the channel, will be very difficult,  I cheekily asked the Coastguard if they would be able to do it as part of a training exercise, they informed me that the Helicopter’s are based at Lydd in Kent and up at Hull. and would cost thousands, I asked if any helicopter would do it, the response was negative!

The exumation would be a perfomance in many ways and what to do with the weathered and encrusted body after would be something to consider.  I’ve obviously been thinking stay in touch!!!

I’ll finish by reflecting on Myron’s bronze bull on the Acropolis and how it fooled the public into thinking it was real, and feel i’m in good company!

For more information please contact me on edwards.bronze@gmail.com

or my gallery Messums.com

Large sculpture man.. diced,sliced and stacked….

OK, the big journey started this month.. the largest sculpture I’ve ever had to make.

The contracts were signed and work has begun on a 25 ft bronze man. Its going to take at least three years to make.   I’m employing 3 more people, who are in intensive training ..

Here’s the plaster in a grid box.. this is the master we are working from.. about 3 ft high we will be enlarging him to the full size plaster over the next few months, the scaling up starts here.. he is basically sliced on a bandsaw..




He has to be angled perfectly, which is what the wax buttress’ are all about.







The slices are stacked and numbered


It’s a precision job, even the width of a blade can make a big difference at 25 ft..




Now he is fully sliced, he waits to be enlarged, what next.? you’ll have to wait until the  next blog……


I have finished modelling four figures for a massive staircase in the city.

It’s next to Cannon Street Tube station.. Two figures are climbing the stair and two brood at the top.  Here are the two climbers in clay.


This guy is arriving at the top of the stairs, looking slightly daunted, he has various wrappings.


I like the back!




I like this hand too..



This is the second man, but the first you come to in the building, he’s looking concentrated, slightly fleeter of foot, I wanted a touch of evolutionaryness. (spell check didn’t like that!)




The other two are now in wax,



Disco king!



Man contemplates monkey..








Fear of the collapsing wax……… poles and string..



Indeed the hot early  summer has prompted the use of props for sagging waxes.

A theme I think I’ll develop, once the commissions are realised. Though with a total

of ten 6ft figures to make it won’t be for a while…


These are sagging in the Sax studio,.. I’ve had to pin them to the wall.. Love them.. again i’ll cast them when we get the time in the schedules..(can’t believe I said that)



I’ve had to buy an access platform that reaches to 30 ft, to make the giant .. three of us had to go on a course to learn how to use it!



You can drive it from the top.. alarming!



Here are a couple of new employees ..

Eva and Ania learning how to operate the grog crushing machine.. Noise and dust do not translate to blogs like this.. believe me it’s not pretty.


Ania’s already having to teach work experience students, Harriet from Thomas Mils stayed for a week..


I used her as a working exhibit on her second day.. The Essex Art fund, seemed to have a fine time visiting the studio..


Hoody man.. wrapping again is proving most stimulating.. more stuff to develop.



A popular slot.. ‘The collapsing clay.’. here a figure disappeared overnight..




Studio detritus









I’ve made a couple of bedrooms at the fire station for the new assistants, I’ve put

pictures on the wall and set dressed..


this is not a bedroom this is finger painting… cleaning hands on boards after painting walls.IMG_6851IMG_6853IMG_6854


Maggi Hambling and I have just opened a show at  the ‘Lynne Strover Gallery’ in      Fen Ditton, Cambridge.  These are shots of the setting up.. The show continues until August the 5th.


AN ENCOUNTER | Maggi Hambling & Laurence Edwards




I’m also in this wonderful drawing show  ‘Seeing through Drawing’  at Mandell’s Gallery in Norwich, celebrating the life of John Berger.

Curated by John Christie a long time friend and collaborator of Berger’s and Martin Battye. The show celebrates drawing, featuring the likes of Kossoff, Aurebach, and Berger himself, amid many other significant artists, its worth a few hours.. Heres the link.


‘Seeing Through Drawing’ Press Release


Finally I was gob smacked, and dumbed by the medieval  glass at Long Melford church,

Apparently some of the best on the country, whatever that means..whats Modernism when it’s at home eh..?  sorry about my photo’s



The lady on the left was the inspiration for ‘Tennier’s ‘ illustration of the Duchess in

Alice in Wonderland.



This ‘Crucifixion of the lillies’, Christ on a cross of flowers took my breath away!



Enough, I’m going on holiday, see you on the other side…scroll on for previous postings, there’s a few years worth now.. and the website will always welcome you…


Have a great summer!