Figurative sculpture, Garden Sculpture, eco signs and Memorials.
Suitable for all public and private design projects.
Art has been used as an aid to bear grief and pay respect to the dead for so long, is it even possible to define when it began?
In Britain, over the last few centuries, memorial art was usually associated with and overseen by religion, much of it rather weighed down by doctrine, nevertheless undoubtedly striking & successful.
However, I suspect that modern secular memorial art and culture can also be very successful and perhaps more relevant for today’s society. I’m advocating the re-introduction of figurative sculpture to widen (and lighten) the possibilities for remembrance both in the public realm and private gardens.
I wonder if there is a desire for a contemporary way to commemorate our dead, a method to extend an emotional connection long after the sensitive modern funeral/celebration service has finished.
You might at first think that a tangible memorial is only appropriate for someone who was famous or managed to achieve something exceptional in life. But the person you wish to commemorate, was by definition, exceptional to you. It’s your choice, I’m not sure there are any rules. (in certain circumstances, for example the public realm, there may be bureaucratic rules to consider such as planning permission)
As I see it there are three categories, public memorial, private garden memorial and burial ground memorial. My wooden figures provide a contemporary option for people to choose a sculpture either to stand out and attract attention, to be hidden in a discreet garden corner or stand among graves in a natural setting.
My first private garden memorial above is my current project and I'm carving it now. You can choose any period in life, (if you have photographs for me to use as reference) i.e.how you wish to remember the person involved. If you are interested and have an idea to share, please let me know.
Here is one suggestion; I wonder if a quiet garden corner could be found, over hung by mature trees, with a pretty arbour in which a realistic life size wooden representation of your loved one could be seated. This kind of discreet memorial might provide a comfortable setting for companionable loving reflection.
Technically I’m referring to an effigy, but I hesitate to use the word effigy, because it sounds rather Gothic and eerie. However, according to the Oxford English Dictionary an effigy is ‘a sculpture or model of a person.’ So, effigy it is. My figures are modern, warm and carry an air of humanity.
I've long felt that garden sculpture is a good way of enabling people to commemorate their dead. The sort of physical representation of the dead person that you suggest is, I think, a really good idea. It creates presence, it serves to remind, and is an object of contemplation. It's also -- really important, this, in our mobile world -- portable; we can take it with us when we move house. I don't know that people want an exact likeness. Something schematic probably works best - the shape of someone rather than an exact representation. A great many people sense the continuing presence of their dead; one of your effigies could act as an objectification of that. Because it is also decorative, the owner doesn't have to own up to what it is and can share it with as many or as few people as they wish.
The cost of a single life size wooden effigy will be circa £4,500.00 plus delivery
Private Garden Memorial figurative sculpture.
You may be a member of a formal or informal group of likeminded people, pressing your local Authority to arrange and pay for a statue of the person(s) concerned. A good first step is to contact the Councillor responsible for the location you have in mind for the memorial. If your Councillor supports your proposal, then they will know the process to follow and can advise you accordingly.
Now, in these times of austerity, one of the main difficulties, if not the principal one, is likely to be funding. Public art is famously expensive ……or it is usually, not so if you commission a work from me.
In the Public realm, a memorial statue might be in a pose to best reflect the person’s most well-known persona and set in an easily accessible location designed to gain attention. I’d like to suggest the accentuated properties of wood from which I make figures, are warm, real and life like. A solid wooden figure has an uncanny human like attribute. To my mind, the use of sustainable British/Scottish home-grown timber is appropriate for today’s thinking, today’s fashion much more up to date and connected to modern life than the common choice of an inert Bronze/acrylic alternative, so popular during Victorian Times.
If a public memorial statue is to be paid for from public funds or subscription, one of my single life size adult figures will cost a very affordable circa £4,500.00 plus delivery and excluding installation. Ideal for these austere times in which we live. All my work is exclusively made from Scottish sustainable timber and will be supplied with ‘Scottish Working Woods’ and ‘Grown in Britain’ labels. Further information can be found on our Eco Policy page.
It is important for me to remind you that if the memorial statue is intended to serve for a very long time, a Bronze/acrylic figure is undoubtedly going to last for a very long time and may be more suitable on those grounds alone. A wooden figure is perhaps best to commemorate living memory.
Another interesting and modern idea from Charles Cowling of The Good Funeral Guide, is to find a Natural Burial Ground where the management are prepared to consider a tangible marking of those who are buried in an appropriate, natural and sacred fashion.
A woodland setting populated by natural wooden effigies, each one representing someone who is buried somewhere among the very same trees. Such a burial ground could have an extraordinary atmosphere, a highly emotional and sacred response for families to visit and commemorate their dead.
I’m hoping to identify natural burial grounds where this might be possible, and I shall update this web page as soon as possible. In the meantime, there can be no harm in you asking if memorial art is allowable in the Burial Ground you have in mind.
Effigies can be supplied without an exterior coating so that the piece will dis-colour & decay naturally and set on a wooden ’root’ system to avoid the use of concrete during the installation.
Public memorial statues.
Burial Ground Memorial.
Contact Robert Lawrence
Original design and drawings by Robert Lawrence.
These pictures are copied from my working drawings of a private memorial effigy currently in build.