Ian G Brennan - ian@iangb.com 

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Contemporary Sculptor

Ian G Brennan

Sculptor and Woodcarver to the

British Royal Household

 

 
Ian G Brennan; Sculptor to the Most Noble Order of the Garter and Most Honourable Order of the Bath; has been a professional Artist, Woodcarver and Sculptor for over thirty-five years working in a wide variety of materials, including wood, marble/resin, sterling silver and bronze. Although Ian produces realistic and heraldic woodcarvings and bronze sculptures, along with variety of his limited-edition bronzes; the vast majority of his work involves creating detailed bespoke 'one off ' sculptures in a variety of different subjects and materials.
 

         

 
 

Please click images to enlarge.   

 
 
This website explores a small selection of the over 350 sculptures Ian G Brennan has been commissioned to create since 1984. Although there are a number of examples of Ian’s more recent sculptures on this website, the majority of the sculptures shown here are his early work with many of his commissions for private and corporate clients and particularly those for the Royal Household have not been included.
 
However, contemporary sculptor.com still gives a good idea of the typical style and detail that sculptor and woodcarver Ian G Brennan has created for over three decades.
 

 

Ian GB, a former cabinet maker, became a professional woodcarver in 1984 and a year later was invited to exhibition his work in London’s Mayfair, with Ian’s first exhibition in an art gallery featuring a collection of his detailed wood carvings. He later began exhibiting his then often life size realistic wildlife sculptures in both wood and bronze in various Museums and Art Galleries in the UK.
 
 
 

       

Daedalus’ lime wood - Bald Eagle one-piece woodcarving 96 inches wide – Otters’’ Bronze and Tulip wood 50 inches high - bronze Osprey and wooden master copy Ian GB, - ‘Marsh Harrier’ Sterling silver 1 6 inches high– ‘’Swimming

 
 

     

 
 
 
Ian’s early wood carvings from 1984 to the mid-1990’s mostly consisted of wildlife sculptures which are often carved from one-piece carved from a variety of hard woods, however in 1996 Ian having learnt how to make molds, he become one of those rare breeds of artists that both carves and casts when he began creating sculptures in other materials including, marble/resin, sterling silver and bronze, using his original highly detailed woodcarvings as the ‘master copy’ for these castings.
 
In 1990 the Museum Service toured a large collection of Ian’s sculptures as a 'One man' exhibition throughout the year to various museums in England, with his then newly created eight feet high Bald Eagle, one-piece woodcarving often being used as the centre piece for these exhibitions.
 
For over thirty years Ian has been commissioned to create a wide variety of sculptures for both Private and Corporate clients, along with over one hundred and thirty unique sculptures for the British Royal Household. These commissions have included creating sculptures for over one hundred Knights, three British Prime Ministers, twenty-seven British and European Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses, Earls, Lords and an Emperor.
 
 

       

 
 
 
Other early commissions over the past three decades have been as diverse as carving the Royal Arms, to a full size bleached and stained wood sculpture of the ‘Risen Christ’ for a local Church. A Globe carved from within the trunk a Sequoia tree for a Company Reception Area, to still on the Globe theme a carved Globe on the tip of a Pencil for a school’s playgrounds ‘quiet’ area, along with the ‘Scottish Amicable Rugby World Cup Final Trophy’ held at Murry Field in 2000.
 
More recently during 2017/18 Ian received fourteen commissions from the Royal Household to be placing on display in Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle. These commissions varied from creating detailed sculptures of Falcon’s, Boars and Owls, to Badgers, Rams and Dogs, to then creating the gilded and bejewelled Crown for King Felipe V1 of Spain when the King was installed a Royal Knight of the Garter by HM The Queen in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. Later in 2018 Ian was also commissioned to create the Crown for King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
 
 

 
 
Ian’s sculptures have been placed in many diverse places including Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, The Royal College of Arms, Museums, Government Buildings, Company Receptions, Board Rooms, Churches, HMS Victory, Cunard Ships, Public Spaces and both Stately and Private Homes all over the World.
 
Examples of Ian’s sculptures have also been created for television programs and can be found on books and magazine covers and also on a set of Royal Mail Postage Stamps featuring Windsor Castle issued in 2017.
 
 

 
Other early commissions have varied from the ‘Mother nature’ sculpture carved from within a split Log, to a bronze sculpture of Bald Eagle upon the Empire State building.  The ‘Pascal candle-stand’ for St George’s Chapel in Windsor castle and a ‘Golden tooth’ displayed outside a Dental surgery.
 
 

        

 
 
Ian has also been commissioned to produce high bas-relief, sculptures in a wide variety of subjects, materials and venues both within the UK and Overseas. Including creating bas-relief sculptures for Ships both old and new as he rather enjoys the contrast of one moment carving from solid mahogany the Starboard Side Entrance Port on Lord Nelson's 18th Century Flagship HMS Victory; to then creating from solid marble/resin two large bas-relief sculptures now placed amongst the grandeur and elegance of the Grand Lobby of the somewhat rather more modern and opulent Ship; Cunard’s Queen Victoria.
 
 

        

 
 
Carved, painted and gilded Arms – Ian carving the Victory’s Entrance Port - The ‘Battle of Trafalgar’ scene carved from within an original five feet long oak beam removed from the lower gun deck of HMS Victory; which was placed on display in the Royal Naval Museum Portsmouth – The Princess Anne; The Princess Royal visiting Ian working on a ten feet wide Lime wood bas-relief carving for St Mary’s Church in the village of Warsash. 
 
To see the various stages of carving a wooden Coat of Arms: - please click here:
 

      

 
Ian GB began his artistic career as a woodcarver in 1996, initially using his highly detailed original woodcarvings as the ‘master copy’ for his bronze castings, however when the need arose Ian like most sculptors began creating the original ‘master copies’ modelled from clay, wax, plaster and occasionally carved directly from resin. Unlike carving directly in wood or stone, working  in clay, wax and plaster, any alterations required by the artist can be made far more easily using these more pliable materials, however once these originals ‘master copies’ of the sculpture are complete and it has been molded, these unique models that have been worked on directly by the artist for many hours and often weeks from clay, plaster etc, are usually just simply disposed of.
 
 

       

‘Marsh Harrier’ carved from lime wood - Carved Wax hand. – ‘Elephant with Young, Clay’ - The ‘Royal Arms’, Plaster.  ‘Knight on Horseback’ Resin.

 

Please click images to enlarge.   

 

 
However, Ian's woodcarving 'master copies' can be retained after molding so they can potentially could also be made available to the client if requested at the time along with the bronze or silver sculpture from whence they came.
 
 

         

 
 

Please click images to enlarge.

 

 
The original carved ‘master copies’ Leaping Panther ‘carved from single piece of Walnut, molded and then cast in a limited-edition bronze – 50 inches long. ‘Swimming Otter’ Walnut limited-edition bronze. 48 inches high ‘Royal Unicorn’ original carved lime wood and a limited-edition bronze. 
 
Occasionally, as in the case of the ‘Mute Swan protecting her Cygnets’ bronze now placed alongside Mirror Lake in Lakelands, Florida. Ian’s original Mute Swan woodcarving was sent to the USA and used to enlarge a replica fourfold in clay by the ABF foundry. The Swan woodcarving and enlargement shown here placed alongside each other for replicating and comparison purposes by the art foundry.
 
Ian’s carved the original Swan from a single piece of lime wood in 1990 and the 27-inch-high woodcarving was then molded to enable a limited edition of nine bronzes be produced. The original Swan woodcarving was also returned to Ian in the UK and has recently been made available for sale.
 
 

       

(last two photo’s courtesy of the ABF foundry)

 
 

 

After a decade of exhibiting his sculptures in art galleries, as his commission kept him so busy, Ian’s last exhibition in a gallery was held in 1997 at the Mall Gallery in London.
 
Since then, after somehow finding the time, over the following decades, Ian has been putting together this unique‘ Spirit of Britons’ exhibition which includes not only a variety of his wood and bronze sculptures but also over a dozen unique sculptures created using various objects and fragments of British historic, cultural and heritage icons including materials originally from Windsor Castle, Southwick House, HMS Victory, The Royal Yacht Britannia, The Cutty Sark, a J Class Yacht, a Rolls Royce and a 1940’s Supermarine Spitfire.
 
However, by far the most complex, time-consuming sculpture Ian has or will ever create and the centre piece of the ‘Spirit of Britons exhibitions, would be the totally unique ‘Victory Sculpture’. This 47-inches-long x 32 inches high, fully rigged scale model of Lord Nelson’s Flagship Victory carved entirely from the ship’s original oak timbers removed during the Victory’s restoration program. 
 
 

      

 
 
The Victory Sculpture carved ‘hull’ and the ‘sea its ‘sailing in’, along with the replicas 104 oak guns. The hundred feet of carved oak ‘ropes and rigging’; with many oak ropes being just mm thick. The 37-wafer thin carved billowing sails and signal flags displaying Nelson’s famous signal ‘England Expects’, were all carved entirely from the Victory’s centuries old historic timbers, removed from the very Warship it replicates… and nothing else.
 
 
Although Ian’s initial idea was to create a unique detailed fully rigged replica of HMS Victory in full sail. All carved from the ship’s original rock-hard oak beams, once not only full of rot and traces of long departed wood worm, but also old nails and bolts, many often hidden away beneath layers of ancient paint; initially began as a labour of love, but ended up as a battle of wills.
 
The Victory sculpture, the first and last sculpted wooden ship Ian will ever produce, is now placed in the first and last sculpted wooden display cabinet Ian will ever produce.
 
This one of a kind, scale replica of Victory, carved by Ian a man of Kent was first exhibited in the City of London and then for two years was placed on exhibition in the Museum in Chatham’s Historic Dockyard; a mere musket shot away from where Victory was originally built by other men of Kent over 250 years earlier, is now placed within its be-spoke sculpted mahogany cabinet and currently awaiting a new owner and berth.
 
 
The Victory Sculpture is a totally unique example of English, Spanish and French history and the completion of the ultimate recycling project.
 
For Further information about this totally unique hand carved replica of Victory and the pending ‘Spirit of Britons’; ‘touch a piece of British history’ exhibition by Ian G Brennan, please click here, or contact Sculptor Ian GB. at ian@iangb.co.uk
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
In 1989 Sculptor Ian G Brennan was officially appointed ‘Sculptor to the ‘Most Noble Order of the Garter’ for Windsor Castle and the ‘Most honourable Order of the Bath’ for Westminster Abbey and since then spends an average of five months of each year working exclusively on a wide variety of commissions in both wood and bronze for the British Royal Household. 
 
The ‘Order of the Garter’ is the world's oldest national order of knighthood in continuous existence and the pinnacle of the British honours system and for these past thirty years, Ian has spent an average of five months of each year on a wide variety of unique commissions in both wood and bronze for the British Royal Household. 
 
These series of commissions from the Royal Household have included creating in three-dimensions over seventy Royal Crowns, Coronets and Crests for the latest Ladies and Royal Knights, with these sculptures then being placed on display in St George’s Chapel Windsor.
 
They also included creating realistic sculptures of Animals, Birds and the Human form along with the more traditional heraldic sculptures including Regal Lions, Royal Unicorns and Mythical Beasts and creating gilded and bejeweled Crowns, Coronets, Swords along with carved, painted and gilded Knights Crests and Coats of Arms which are all produced in fine detail and in both high bas-relief and three Dimensions.
 
For the most part these commissions from the Royal Household are quite evenly spaced out throughout the year which enables Ian to also continue working on his Private and Corporate commissions, although during HM The Queens Golden Jubilee year, Ian was working on sixteen totally unique sculptures for the British Royal Household throughout that period, many of which were placed on public display in St George’s Chapel when the Crowned Heads of Europe also joined HM The Queen for the Jubilee ‘Order of the Garter Ceremony’ held at Windsor Castle.
 
 

   

 
 
Ian delivering HRH The Prince Anne, The Princess’s Royals gilded Coronet he created for the Princess’s instillation as a Lady of the Garter in 1994. HM the Queen in procession at Windsor Castle, from the Royal Apartments to St George's Chapel during the annual instillation of Royal Knights, Knights and Lady Companions of the Most Noble Order of the Garter 
 
In 2005 On St George’s Day at Windsor Castle, Ian was informed by HM The Queen that HRH Prince William; The Duke of Cambridge, was to become the 1000 Knight of the Garter since 1348, to hold this the highest Order of Chivalry. Ian was also later commissioned to create Princess Williams Royal Crest and Sword.
 

   

 

St George's Chapel Crests -  St George's Chapel Windsor Castle - Ian GB  – - Henry V11 Chapel Westminster Abbey

 

 
A small selection of the 124 carved, painted and gilded Royal Crowns, Coronets and Crests Ian has created during the past three decades shown here placed upon the Knights Helm’s in St George’s Chapel Windsor and Henry V11 Chapel Westminster Abbey.  
 
Since 1989 Ian commission from the Royal Household have also include creating in three- dimensions all the carved, painted and gilded Crests for the latest Knights of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, first established in 1725 with these sculptures then being placed on display in Henry V11 Chapel in Westminster Abbey.
 
For examples of many of Ian’s Carved Coats of Arms and Crests; please click here 
 
Sculptor Ian GB shown here in his studio creating a number of Crowns and Crests for Royal Knights of the Garter and Knights of the Bath in both 1989 and 2018. Three of the latest nine Knight of the Bath Crests created by Ian for the Bath service held in May 2018 and King Felipe V1 of Spain’s Crown in time for the Garter service the following June.
 

     

 
 
The Knight of the Garter and Knight of the Bath two of the oldest and highest Orders of Chivalry in the World and current records show that Ian G Brennan has individually created more of these unique sculpted Heraldic achievements than any other person since records began and continues to do so today
 
 

 

During the Royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton; The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Westminster Abbey, thirty-four of Ian’s carved, painted and gilded Knights Crests commissioned by the Royal Household were on public display in Henry V11 Chapel in the Abbey.
 
 
During the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle; The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, thirty-two of Ian’s carved, painted and gilded Crowns, Coronets and Knights Crests commissioned by the British Royal Household, were on display either side of the aisle within the Quire where the wedding took place in St George’s Chapel,
 
 
 

 
Although Ian prefers to concentrate on creating original art work and tries not get to much involved with restoration projects, now and again Ian rather enjoys working with organisations such as the Royal Household, Private and Government organisations along with the Museum service and English Heritage to assist on a wide variety of restoration projects.
 
Such commissions have included replacing or restoring antique, ornate plaster mouldings, wood carvings and bronze sculptures for Government buildings, Museums, Churches, Southwick House, The College of Arms in London, Windsor Castle and also carving a replica of an 18th century ships Lion figure-head for a Museum, along with replacing the original intricately carved entrance port on Lord Nelson’s historic Flagship HMS Victory.
 
 

            

 
 
Southwick House, before and after photographs of restored ornate mirror and picture frames. The restoring antique mirrors and an extensively a large badly damaged picture frames for 'Southwick House' near Portsmouth, which was the former Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. The Allied Headquarters of General Eisenhower during WW 2. (where 'D Day' was planned)  
 
 
 

 

Since 1992 Ian has regularly been invited as a Guest Speaker, talking about his work as a sculptor in a variety of venues from Village Halls and Council Chambers, to the Queens Room and Theatre on-board the QE2 and all Three of the latest Cunard Queens.
 
 
 

     

 
 
Ian has also been invited to give Talks, Presentations and Exhibitions of his sculptures in the somewhat more formal surroundings such as Museums, Burlington House; Home of the Royal Academy of Arts and also within the Historic Royal settings of the Nave in St George's Chapel and even inside the medieval Dungeons of Windsor Castle. 
 
 

contemporarysculptor.com.

 

Suzanne Cavill

 

 

“Ironically enough I will be the first to admit I had no thoughts of being a professional sculptor until I was in my mid-thirties, when in 1984 a fire destroyed my once thriving cabinet making business that I had built up over ten years. My having made a mistake with renewing my business insurance policy, subsequently left me uninsured, with no machinery, tools and a workshop to put them all in and being self-employed, no prospects of any income.
 
 
I then discover unbeknown to me at the time, my long experience with working with timber ignited a dormant natural ability to be able to carve and equally importantly, carve quickly. All combined with the necessity to somehow continue to make a living, along with the desire and ability to be able to work round the clock when necessary to do so, which happened to be more often than not. All this along with a lot of lucky breaks along the way, I would not have been a professional sculptor for the past thirty-five plus years, this web page and all contained within it, would I fear never have existed. Ah such is life
 
 
"Success is not about how high you can climb, but how long you can hang on.”
 

Ian GB.

 
 
 

 

 

For further information about Ian’s work please contact Ian GB at ian@iangb.co.uk

 

 Ian G Brennan - Warsash - Hampshire. England. SO31 9GN.

 
 
 

 
 
 

Photographs taken in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle by Ian GB are used with the kind permission of The Deans and Canons of Windsor, permission for further use of these images must be sought from the Chapter Office, The Cloisters, Windsor Castle.  

 

Photographs taken in Henry V11 Chapel Westminster Abbey by Ian GB are used with kind permission of The Dean and Chapter of Westminster, permission for further use of these images must be sought from the Chapter Office, Westminster Abbey, 20 Dean's Yard. London.

 
 

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