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 wood carvings and bronze
sculptures, along with a 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.
For over thirty years as professional Sculptor 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.
Ian’s wide variety of commissions over the decades in
various materials including wood, bronze and silver have varied from creating an
eight feet wide bald Eagle wood carving for a Company reception area’ an eight
feet high ‘Mute Swan’ bronze for Lakeland in Florida, to carving the
‘Starboard side Entrance Port’ for Lord Nelson’s 18th century Flagship
During 2018/19 there was a two-year waiting period for
Ian’s private commissions. The wide variety of sculpture commissions being
worked on for both private collections and the Royal Household during this
period were created both large and small and in a variety of different
materials. They included sculptures depicting the Human form, to a pair of
Horses. An Eagle in flight to a pair of Kingfishers. Sculptures of an Otter
and an Elephant, to a large bas-relief carving of the Royal Arms. Sculptures
of a Dog, Tawny Owl and a Knight in full Armour, along with producing the
bejewel and gilded Crowns for two European Kings.
The wide contrast of Ian’s work ranges from
highly detailed naturalistic one-off wood, silver and bronze sculptures including
totally unique wood carvings like the carved replica of Lord Nelson’s
Flagship HMS Victory 'Running before the Wind' carved entirely from the
Ships original century’s old solid oak timbers, which took Ian almost
two decades to create in oak. To the ‘Mute
Swan - Global Warming’ sculpture which took Mother
Nature less than two hours to create in wax.
The melted wax – the white
resin Mute Swan ‘master copy and how it should have been, ‘Global Warming’
now cast in bronze and frozen in time. Bronze 2020.
Ian’s half-life size resin ‘Mute Swan
‘master copy’ took two weeks to replicate in soft green casting wax, which
was then inadvertently left in his glass surrounded workshop on what
later turned out to be the hottest ever recorded day in England, which
rather unsurprisingly took Mother Nature less than two hours to create the
wax ‘Global Warming’ sculpture, greatly assisted during the past four
plus decades and counting, by some of mankind’s tireless and relentless
efforts to exasperate this whole sorry process; The Elephant in the
On the Brink’ -
During the past three decades these commissions
have also varied from an eight feet high Bald eagle in flight carved from
within the trunk of a massive Lime tree for a Company’s board room; to
carving from within a centuries old Sequoia log, the Globe sculpture for a Corporation's reception
area. A Company Logo and Crest from white marble and resin for the Grand
Lobby of Cunard’s Queen
Victoria’s and then for over thirty years,
creating over one hundred thirty unique sculptures for the British
These commissions over the years are also as diverse as one
day putting the finishing touches to a Crown for a Queen, to the next
carving a Stag for a Prime Minister. To then deliver both
sculptures to Windsor Castle to be placed on display in St George's Chapel
in time for the Garter Service attended by HM The Queen and other members of
the Royal family and invited guests.
The Crest and Crowns for
King Harold V1 of Norway – Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands -Emperor
Akihito of Japan – King Felipe of Spain and King Willem-Alexander of the
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, The
Grand Lodge of England,
Cunard Ships, Public Spaces and both Stately and Private Homes all over the
Ian G Brennan has exhibited his work in such diverse venues; from Art
Galleries to Museums. During 1990 the Museum Service in England toured a
large collection of Ian’s sculptures as a ‘one man’ exhibition to
various museums throughout the year.
has also given Talks and Presentations displaying his work from the Queens
room aboard the QE2, to Burlington House; Home of the Royal Academy of Arts.
From St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle to the Dungeons beneath the
Castle. Since 1992 Ian has been invited each year, accompanied by his family
as guests, to give a number of Talks and Presentations on board the QE2 and
the three latest Cunard Queens.
Theatre Queen Elizabeth –
Queens room-QE2 – St George's Chapel-Windsor – Dungeons- Windsor Castle.
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
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.
The ‘Spirit of
Britons’ Sculpture Collection.
Ian began exhibiting his then often life size realistic
wildlife sculptures in both wood and bronze in various Museums and Art
Galleries in the UK. However, after a decade of exhibiting his
sculptures in various Art Galleries and Museums his commission kept him so
busy particularly those regular commissions from the Royal Household, so in
1997 Ian’s stopped exhibiting his sculptures in art galleries with his
last exhibition held at the Mall Gallery in London in 1997.
HMS Victory ‘Running before the
then Ian somehow found the time and managed to put together a unique
collection of over twenty unique sculptures which has been created
incorporating original objects and materials he has collected over the
decades from Historic British Cultural and Heritage
Icons such as Windsor Castle, Southwick House, (where DD in WW2 was planned)
HMS Victory, The Royal Yacht Britannia, The Cutty Sark, a J Class Yacht, a
Rolls Royce, a 1940’s Supermarine Spitfire and a British Dinosaur bone
fossil from the Jurassic period.
‘The Victory Sculpture’ –- ‘One of the Few’ –
‘Fire in the Hall’ – ‘- ‘A View from the Redoubtable’ - Cutty
Sark- Running before the Wind’ 1&2 -‘Britannia’ –
‘Homeward Bound’ - ‘Spirit of Britons’ - ‘First Reserve’
– ‘'The Family Seat’ - National Game’ - Nelson’s Pillow –
‘Crown Jewels for the Iron Lady’ –‘Spirit of Britons’ – ‘Loose
Cannon’ – ‘Goblets for a Gun Crew’ -– ‘Source of Victory’ –
‘St George from the Chapel’ 'Back in Time' –……. plus.
'one of the
Few' - 'A view
from the Redoubtable' 'Fire in the Hall'
‘One of Few’ was created from combining original material
from two of the most iconic British Weapons of War. Nelson’s Flagship HMS
Victory and a Supermarine Spitfire. An armoured laminated glass
windscreen from a damaged 1940’s Spitfire has been set in a frame made
from original Victory oak.
‘Fire in the Hall’ An original wooden shield for a 17th
century Knight of the Garter was removed from St George’s Hall after the
Great Fire at Windsor Castle in 1992.
‘A View from the Redoubtable’ (to be finished) is
currently being carved from within a section of HMS Victory’s hull’s
Amongst a number of objects severely damaged in the
‘Great fire at Windsor Castle In 2019 was these remains of mediaeval oak
beams, once at the very heart of the fire within the Royal apartments in
‘The Windsor Quartet’; remains of original oak beams from
the fire at Windsor Castle; before and after
everything on line in a
digital world, there is value
in physical history.
function for this material
has long gone, but its
By far the most complex, time-consuming sculpture Ian has or
ever will create and the centerpiece of the ‘Spirit of Britons
exhibitions is the Victory
HMS Victory ‘Running
before the Wind’ – (Victory oak – 47 inches long)
This one-of-a-kind, scale replica of Victory, carved by Ian,
a man of Kent; was first exhibited in the City of London for a year and then
for two years was placed on exhibition in the Museum at Chatham’s Historic
Dockyard; a mere musket shot away from where Victory was originally built by
other men of Kent 250 years earlier. Ian, a former cabinet maker, has now
placed this unique sculpture within its own bespoke sculpted solid mahogany
cabinet. The first and last model Ship Ian will ever make, now resides in
the last cabinet Ian will ever make.
Ian GB’s ‘milestone/turning point’ wood and bronze collection
This unique collection will also include twenty of Sculptor
Ian GB’s ‘milestone/turning point’ wood and bronze sculptures. These
sculptures were part of the over three hundred and fifty both large and
small marble-resin, wood, bronze and sterling silver sculptures along with
various original carved plaster and wooden ‘master copies’ Ian has
created over three decades.
The ‘Turning Point’ wood and bronze
collection include, Ian GB’s first and second woodcarving he ever
completed, his first and second series of bronze wildlife sculptures and the
first and second ‘wood turned’ item.
Ian’s first and last life-size one-piece
‘Eagle in-flight’ woodcarvings, along with a number of original carved
wood and plaster ‘master copies’ for bronze castings. Editions of the
first and second of the bronze wildlife sculptures Ian produced. The
‘Elephant and Calf’ and the large ‘Swimming Otter’ along with the
first Kings Crown Ian ever produced for the Royal Household.
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
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 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
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 delivered HRH The Princess Anne, The Princess’s Royals gilded
Coronet he created for the Princess’s installation 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
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
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
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 shown below which was later used as the centre piece
for these exhibitions.
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 Cup Final Trophy’ held at Murryfield 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
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
To see the various stages of carving a wooden Coat of Arms: - please
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 folded, 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.
However, Ian's woodcarving 'master copies'
can be retained after molding so they could potentially 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
The original carved ‘master copies’ Leaping Panther ‘carved from a single piece of Walnut, moulded 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
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 wood carving was then moulded 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.
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
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
Although Ian prefers to concentrate on creating original artwork
and tries not get to get too 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, (where D Day in WW2 was planned) restoring ornate
mirror and picture frames. The restoring antique mirrors and a large badly
damaged picture frame for 'Southwick House' near Portsmouth, which
was the former Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. The Allied
Headquarters of General Eisenhower during WW 2.
“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
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
I then discovered unbeknownst 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
is not about how high you can climb, but how long you can hang on.”
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
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. Snowboarder
image by Andrew Moore.- Other photographs taken by Ian G Brennan;
Further use of these images must be sought from firstname.lastname@example.org -
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