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The ‘Spirit of Britons and ‘Turning Point’ Collection

 by

 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 the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.

 

Ian G Brennan who was officially appointed 'Sculptor to the Most Noble Order of the Garter and Most Honourable Order of the Bath' in 1989 and has been a professional artist and sculptor working in a wide variety of materials for over thirty years. Ian's woodcarvings and bronze sculptures can be found in Windsor Castle, St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Museums, HMS Victory, Cunard Ships and both Public and Private Art collections all over the World.

 


 

For the past three plus decades; somehow finding the time; Ian has spent many weeks of each year working alongside his commissions, on the ‘Spirit of Britain’s’ ‘Touch a piece of History’ collection. Consisting of twenty totally unique sculptures created by incorporating often old, original, historic and iconic British objects and materials into sculpture form, all relative in one way or another to its original source; often using materials rescued in one form or another and often from one skip or another. Further Background information:

The collection is all about the original saved historic objects and materials and is not so much what they  were to become. So as to detract as little as possible from the original material and condition used in this collection, Ian has simply worked on the premise of less is more.

Sculptures such as ‘Fire in the Hall’ and ‘Family Seat’ required less impute from Ian, compared to ‘A view from Redoubtable’ and ‘The Victory sculpture’ which required considerably more.

 

With everything on line in a digital world, there is value in a physical history.  

‘The original function for this material has long gone, but its history remains’.

 


 

The pending ‘Spirit of Britons’ ‘touch a piece of history’ - sculpture exhibition pieces has been created using old, historic and often iconic buildings, objects and materials from Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, Southwick House, HMS Victory, The Royal Yacht Britannia, The Cutty Sark, a J Class Yacht, a Rolls Royce and a 1940’s Supermarine Spitfire.

Sculptures include: -

The Victory Sculpture’ –- ‘One of the Few’ – ‘Fire in the Hall’ – ‘A View from the Redoubtable’ - ‘'The Family Seat’ - ‘Cutty Sark- Running before the Wind’ 1&2  - Nelson’s Pillow - ‘Crown Jewels for the Iron Lady’ - ‘Spirit of Britons’ - ‘Britannia’ –‘First Reserve’ - - National Game’ -–‘Homeward Bound’ - ‘Loose Cannon’ – ‘Goblets for a Gun Crew’ -– ‘Source of Victory’ – ‘St George from the Chapel’ –  ‘Heart of Oak’ – ‘ Above is only Sky’ -  'Phoenix Rising' - 'Royal Salute' - 'England and Saint George' -  ‘Two over the Yard Arm’ –

 


 

This exhibition should also include Ian GB’s ‘milestone - turning point’ wood and bronze sculptures. These sculptures were taken from the over three hundred and fifty mostly commissioned, marble, resin, wood, bronze and sterling silver both large and small sculptures Ian has created since 1984.

These ‘turning point’ sculptures include Ian’s first and second woodcarving he ever completed along with two of the first wildlife bas relief wood carvings. Two of the first and second series of bronze wildlife sculptures Ian produced. The first and second ‘wood turned’ item Ian ever made. Ian’s first and last life size Eagle in-flight one-piece woodcarving he intends creating. 

Along with a selection of plaster and wooden carved ‘master copies’ for castings in bronze and other materials. The original carved 18 inches high ‘Marsh Harrier in flight’, along with the virtually life size carved original ‘Mute Swan’ one-piece lime wood ‘master copy’ used to create the 8 feet high bronze version placed alongside Mirror Lake in Florida USA.  

The full size ‘prototype’ carved, painted and gilded ‘The Kings Crown’. This Crown turned out to be the first of over one hundred thirty unique sculpture commissions to date, Ian has created since 1989 for the British Royal Household.

 


 

 

The Spirit of Britons

 

 

A combination of Tradition, faith and history; The Rolls Royce ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ set upon a section of oak from the 'Pascal Candle stand' Marquette, Ian produced for his larger version commissioned for St Georges’ Chapel in Windsor Castle, placed upon a piece of original centuries old oak from the hull of HMS Victory. 

 

Further information;

 


 

 

The potential centre piece of this ‘Spirit of Britons-Touch a Piece of History’ collection is by far the most complex, time-consuming wood sculpture Ian GB has and ever will create. The totally unique Victory Sculpture’. These 47 inches long, fully rigged scale sculpture of Lord Nelson’s Flagship HMS Victory was carved, ropes and all, entirely from solid oak pieces from the Warship’s original centuries old oak timbers and nothing else.

 

 

     The 'Victory Sculptor' shown here in Ian's studio and the Victory's hull and sails shown here in 'kit form' 

 

Both the oak ‘Victory Sculpture’ and its sculptured bespoke mahogany cabinet were being worked for over two decades alongside Ian’s commissions. The Victory Sculpture’ depicted the Victory in full sail ‘Running before the Wind’ took Ian almost three times longer to carve than it took to build Lord Nelson’s somewhat larger version now to be found in Dry Dock in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

 

 

 

There is now another Victory that was at the Battle of Trafalgar, albeit with much of this Victory being safely hidden away deep within the ships timbers it replicates. These oak timbers were later mostly removed from the lower gun deck area from within the historic warships hull during the Victory’s restoration program in the early 1990’s.

47 inches long -  Further information

 

 


 

 

'One of the Few'

 

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II.  During the Battle of Britain in 1940, Spitfires with their superb agility in the air were generally tasked with engaging Luftwaffe fighters—mainly Messerschmitt Bf 109E

 

 

One of the Few sculptures from the ‘Spirit of Britons’ collection was created entirely from combining original material from two of the most iconic British Weapons of War, Nelson’s Flagship HMS Victory and an original armoured laminated glass windscreen removed from a damaged 1940’s Supermarine Spitfire.

 

 

 

The ‘One of the Few’ sculpture like all the others were produced in Ian’s studio in Warsash, a Hampshire village less than ten seconds away as the Spitfire flies from the former Supermarine factory where Spitfires were original designed and built in the 1930’s.

The original 940’s Supermarine Spitfire windscreen has been set in a carved oak frame using centuries old timbers removed from the lower gun deck of Victory which was then placed upon a mahogany base which was once a section  of the mahogany timbers Ian used to build the galley in 1984 for the J Class Yachts Velsheda.

18 inches high -Further information

 


 

 

'Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied Castle in the world. Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has since been the home of 39 monarchs. William the Conqueror began building the Castle at Windsor around 1070, and it took 16 years to complete. Since then the castle and royal apartments have been restored and modified and enhanced by various monarchs over the centuries, however during November 1992 tragically images of Windsor Castle in flames were shown across the world.

 

 

   

 

During the early part of the restoration process that followed the fire, a curator of a museum had been given permission to rescue a number of the original Knights shields that once surrounded the walls and ceiling of this historic Hall, along with some old beams and plaster mouldings that were also damaged in the fire from skips that were placed alongside the castle walls as the material in the skips were deemed unrestorable. The curator was planning an exhibition about the stages of the fire at the Castle.

Ian was later asked by the curator if it were possible for him to produce something from any of the shields damaged in the fire and he later received some of this original material, including some of these burnt wooden shields to enable him to choose the most suitable for a potential carving for the exhibition. Along with these original wooden Knight of the Garter shields which had for centuries were placed upon the walls and ceiling of the historic St George’s Hall. Along with these shield Ian also received three small oak timbers which were once part of the very structure of the historic Castle.

 


 

Ian has always rather enjoy the challenge of working with such old or damaged materials which might otherwise be simply disposed of, in an attempt of to create something from nothing. This first carved shield a scene of the fire which was carved from within one of the most badly burnt wooden Knights shields was  given to the Museum in lieu of payment and in exchange Ian was able to retain some of the other recovered materials including three small blocks of oak along with a small piece of original molded plaster which were no longer required for the exhibition.

 

 

 

The original museums carved shield shown here along with the four various recovered wooden objects later used to create the ‘Windsor Castle Quartet’ sculpture.

From these four particular small sections of medieval oak beams and the Knights shields removed from the castle after the fire, were found in conditions ranging from relatively undamaged, to having been burnt almost beyond recognition. From these old once discarded old material decades later Ian created the Quartet’ set of carvings all sculpted from within these old oak timbers.

 Fire in the Hall’ - 'Phoenix Rising',  - 'Above is only Sky' - 'England and Saint George’ - Royal Salute'

 

 

'Fire in the Hall'

 

 

 

Windsor Castle is a royal residence and is notable for its long association with the British royal family along with its both relatively modern and medieval architecture. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe.

 

 

   

 

This century old fire damaged Knights Shield was recovered from St George's Hall in Windsor Castle after the Great Fire in November 1992. This ancient wooden shield was originally painted with a seventieth century Night of the Garter’s Coat of Arms, which was erased in the fierce fire.

Ian carved from within the fire damaged shield an image depicting a firefighter dousing the flames in Brunswick Tower in the castle which raged throughout the night.

An original wooden shield for a 17th century Knight removed from St George’s Hall after the Great Fire at Windsor Castle in 1992. (18 inches high)

 

18 inches high - Further information

 


 

 

‘The ‘Windsor Quartet’

Decades after Ian first carved the ‘Fire in the Hall’ he decided to create something from these three 10 inches or so high remaining blocks of ancient oak removed from the burnt out remains of the royal apartments after the fire in the royal apartments.

It is was once said by Michelangelo with marble, but is the same for wood. The sculpture was always inside the marble, it simply required releasing by the artist’

 


 

 

 

 

The ‘Phoenix rising’ - ‘…… England and Saint George’ - ‘Royal Salute’ …. before and after.

 

The first of these three small blocks of Windsor castle oak which was the most badly fire damaged of the three, Ian created was the ‘Phoenix rising’. The final subjects created from what remained from these ancient oak timbers removed from the fire, all had to be relevant and the subjects reflect from whence they came.

 

 

The third wood sculpture to be worked on from this trio of oak beams was 'Above is only Sky' followed by ‘…… England and Saint George’ both of which are yet to be finished.

 

 

The finally of this quartet of sculptures to be recovered from these once discarded ancient solid oak timbers removed from the very fabric of Windsor Castle was the ‘Royal Salute’. This oak timber was also prising open along the natural split that had accrued over the centuries into two halves.

 

 

 


 

 

'Phoenix Rising'

 

 

 

Amongst wooden objects burnt in the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992 and rescued from a skip by a museum curator, included these two small oak beams along with an oak beam which looks like it was once at the very heart of the fire in Windsor Castle.

In 2019 Ian prised open along a crack of the 16 inches long burnt piece of oak like a clam, to recover ‘the ‘Phoenix Rising’.

Further Information:

 


 

 

 

'Above is only Sky' (to be finished)

 

   

 

A relief carving of Windsor Castle currently being carved from a small section of the other medieval oak roof timber from the castle after the fire at Windsor in 1992. 10 inches long

 

 

  From the reverse side of this small piece of oak Ian is currently carving from within it                 ‘ …… England and Saint George’

 

Further information:

 


 

‘ …… England and Saint George’ (to be finished)

 

Over many centuries through this historic period these pieces of timbers which were once part of the very fabric of Windsor Castle through the fire which raged thought the night through the royal apartments, these centuries old historic oak timbers survived.

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Further information:

 

 


 

 

'Royal salute'

 

 

 

 

During the past thousand years in England there has been fifty-six Sovereigns consisting of a variety of men and women with widely different personalities, reigning in widely different circumstances  on the battle fields and at home during both good and not so good times were they served their Country and reigning as Kings and Queens of England; with the royal line of Scotland emerged with England in the seventieth century.

From the main part of this small section of the medieval oak beam which was relatively untouched in the fire in the castle, Ian created the ‘Royal Salute’ sculpture.

 

 

 


 

 

 

The ‘Windsor Quartet’ (to be finished)

 


 

 

‘A view from the Redoubtable'

 

 

The Battle of Trafalgar; The battle in 1805 which was to change the world, was one of the greatest sea battles in British Naval history and gave birth to a legend. Off the coast of Spain's Cape Trafalgar, the British Fleet, led by Lord Horatio Nelson, took on a larger combined French and Spanish force to determine who would be the master of the waves. France's Napoleon Bonaparte was poised to send his powerful army across the English Channel to conquer the island and the only obstacle standing in his way was the British fleet, led by Nelson on Victory.

 

 

'A view from the Redoubtable' before and after

 

A View from the Redoubtable’ is currently being carved from original pieces of oak removed from a oak frame from Lord Nelson’s Flagship HMS Victory during the restoration program in the 1990’s. This bas-relief carving was one of a pair of proposed carved Victory oak ‘Trafalgar scenes’ started in the early 1990’s.

To date only the ‘Battle of Trafalgar’ scene, the first of Ian’s initially proposed pair of relief carvings in the 1990’s has been completed which was later gifted for display to the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The other the relief carving ‘A View from the Redoubtable’ over twenty-five years later has yet to be completed; but Ian’s working on it.

41 inches long Further Information

 


 

 

‘The Family Seat’

The Prince and Princes of Wales oak garden bench was once kept in the private walled garden in Kensington Palace.

 

 

The oak bench was present to the Royal couple when they married in 1981. Several decades later Ian was asked to restore the bench after it became worse for wear.

 

 

 

 

Although the top of the seat itself was badly worn which is why Ian replaced it, however underneath the oak seat it was found to be in good enough condition and using oil paints, Ian will be outlining the Princess's image onto the oak.

The oak bench in Kensington Palace Garden and restored in Ian's back Garden.

Although the original intention was to carve this simple image of  Princess Diana into the oak, blending the Princess's image into the oak seat however after Ian painted this image in water colours as a basic outline for the carving, decided instead to over paint the image using oil paints; perhaps on this occasion less is more.

50 inches long Further Information 

 


 

 

Cutty Sark ‘Running before the Wind’ (to be finished)

Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship. Built on the River Clyde, Glasgow in 1869. She was one of the last tea clippers to be built and the fastest of her time and the sole surviving tea clipper ship in the world.

 

 

 

‘Cutty Sark ‘Running before the Wind’ - A pair of bas-relief carvings currently being created from an original pitch pine beam which was once part of the hull of the 19th century British clipper ship Cutty Sark.

Both relief carvings will be depicting the Cutty Sark in full sail and all the original thick paint etc on the back of the carving as shown is to be retained.

17 & 18 inches high -Further Information

 


 

 

‘The Royal Crest plus one'

 

 

Ian’s bronze replacement Royal Crest now placed upon the Royal Arms at the College of Arms

 

This original carved wooden Royal Crest which was once placed upon the Royal Arms above the porch of the 17th century ‘College of Arms building in London. The College of Arms in London was founded by royal charter in 1484 by King Richard 111.

 

 

The Royal Crest plus one’

Due to the original oak Royal Crest's weather-beaten condition outside in the elements upon the Royal Arms. Ian was commissioned by the College of Arms to replace this carved crest with a replica in bronze. Decades later Ian decided to restore the original wooden Royal Crest.

Ian produced two slightly different bronze 'Lion of England' sculptures at the foundry and the 'spare' Lion was then put to one side. Two decades later this Lion bronze shown above is currently being chased and the patina added.

 

     

The Royal Crest along with King Edward V111 Crest before and after Ian restored them both

 

Further information:

 

 


 

‘St George from the Chapel’

 

 

A bronze casting of the 15th century relief carving in the ‘poppy head’ of ‘St George and the Dragon’ on the Prince of Wales Stall, in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

 

 

Over a decade ago Ian was to make an ‘alginate’ mold of the original 15th century woodcarving in the Chapel. It has now been set upon a piece of oak from one of St George’s Hall original damaged roof timbers removed after the fire in 1992.

 

 

 

Further information

 


 

 

‘Britannia’

 

 

A bronze relief castings of the Royal Yacht Britannia set on a section of the original worn teak decking removed from the Britannia during a refit.   (14 inches long)

 

 

Further information

 


 

 

'Homeward Bound'

 

 

‘Homeward Bound’ – The ‘Artist Copy ‘of a signed 1 off 9 limited-edition bronze scenes of the battle damaged Victory undertow to Gibraltar for repairs, before being towed back to England after the Battle of Trafalgar, this bronze is numbered A/C.  

The bronze casting has been set onto a frame made from original oak and copper from HMS Victory.

 

 

15 x 14 ½ inches  - Further information

 


 

 

'First Reserve'

 

One of the four wooden Rugby Balls Ian carved when he was commissioned to carve the ‘Scottish Amicable Rugby Cup Final Trophy’ which was held at Murry Field in 2000 between Scotland and the Barbarians. The cup shown below was presented to the Barbarians winning Team Captain, D Zinzan.

 

   

 

Ian  initially carved four rugby balls from different naturally coloured woods; Ash, Cherry, Walnut and Tulip wood to give the client a choice. Eventually the rugby ball carved from Cherry was used for the Trophy.  The Tulip wood ball is shown here .

 

Further information 

 


 

 

'The National Game'

 

 

A full size ‘traditional' football carved from Ash and set upon a slab of carved Victory oak with an original 1966 Royal Mail ‘England Winner’ over print postage stamp attached.

Further information 

 


 

 

‘Nelson’s Pillow’

 

Lord Nelson’s ‘Life Mask’: This ‘life mask’ has been set upon a small section of original oak from Victory’s orlop deck where Lord Nelson was taken having been shot by a musket ball from a sniper high up in the rigging on the French ship Redoubtable during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

 

 

 

An original French musket ball similar to the calibre shot that felled Nelson. This musket ball which was later attached to the piece of decking was one of six musket balls found together in the muds at Rotherhithe alongside one of the French gun-carriages. One of these French gun carriages also recovered from the mud was then taken to the Mary Rose museum Portsmouth. These musket balls and gun carriages have been confirmed to be from one of the few Trafalgar prizes, survivors of the ‘great storm’ following the battle, then towed to Rotherhithe for salvage.

Further information 

 


 

 

To be continued with further Sculptures include: -

 

‘Crown Jewels for the Iron Lady’ - Loose Cannon’ – ‘Goblets for a Gun Crew’ -– ‘Heart of Oak’ - ‘Source of Victory’ –  ‘Two over the Yard Arm’ – plus

 


 

 

Sculptor 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 during the past three decades.    

 

 

   

Ian’s first Crown, largest woodcarving, first Bronze 

 

This exhibition should also include Ian GB’s original ‘milestone - turning point’ wood and bronze sculptures. These sculptures were taken from the over three hundred and fifty mostly commissioned, marble, resin, wood, bronze and sterling silver both large and small sculptures Ian has created since 1984.

These sculptures include Ian’s first and second woodcarving he ever completed along with two of the first wildlife bas relief wood carvings. Two of the first and second series of bronze wildlife sculptures Ian produced. The first and second ‘wood turned’ item Ian ever made. Ian’s first and last life size Eagle in-flight one-piece woodcarving he intends creating. - Further information

 


 

 

A selection of plaster and wooden carved ‘master copies’ for castings in bronze and other materials. The original carved 18 inches high ‘Marsh Harrier in flight’, along with the virtually life size carved original ‘Mute Swan’ one-piece lime wood ‘master copy’ used to create the 8 feet high bronze version placed alongside Mirror Lake in Florida USA.

The full size ‘prototype’ carved, painted and gilded ‘The Kings Crown’. This Crown turned out to be the first of over one hundred thirty unique sculpture commissions to date, Ian has created since 1989 for the British Royal Household.

Further details 

 

 


 

 

To be continued -  Further Sculptures include: -

 

‘Crown Jewels for the Iron Lady’

' Loose Cannon’

‘Goblets for a Gun Crew’

‘Heart of Oak’

‘Source of Victory’

‘Two over the Yard Arm’

Plus

 


 

Sculptor 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 during the past three decades.

 


 

 

www.spiritofbritons.uk  - suzanne@spiritofbritons.uk

Ian G Brennan - www.iangb.com - - ian@iangb.com

 


 

 

www.spiritofbritons.uk -

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