About Anthony Smith

Anthony has a life-long interest in both natural history and art and it is through his sculptures that he combines these twin passions.

A fascination for Natural History led Anthony study Zoology at Cambridge University, after which he set up a studio and began his career as a sculptor, teaching himself the traditional sculpting methods of the 19th-century masters. His wildlife sculptures are inspired by direct observations of animals in the wild, complemented by studies of animal behaviour and anatomy. He has also developed a passion for that most challenging form of sculpture – human portraiture.

Anthony has been awarded major public commissions, including life-sized statues for Cambridge University and the Natural History Museum of London (the first new statue for the Museum in more than 80 years), and a new £2 coin for the Royal Mint. Works by Anthony Smith are also in the collections of the British Museum, the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Artis Royal Zoo (Amsterdam), Winchester College, the Linnean Society of London, as well as many private collectors worldwide.

Please feel free to contact the artist for information regarding commissions, or the availability of sculptures for purchase.

 

Residencies & Awards

  • Sculptor & Photographer with Poseidon Expeditions polar cruises, 2015-
  • Statue of Alfred Russel Wallace short-listed for the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture, 2014.
  • South Georgia Heritage Trust Artist In Residence, South Georgia, 2013-14.
  • Shackleton Scholarship; Artist In Residence on the Falkland Islands, 2012.
  • Winning design for a new £2 coin by Royal Mint, 2012.
  • Resident Artist and Photographer aboard the tall ship Stad Amsterdam during an 8-month voyage around the world re-sailing Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle, 2009-10.
  • Statue of ‘The Young Charles Darwin’ short-listed for the Marsh Award for Best Public Sculpture of the Year, 2009.
  • Elected Associate of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, 2008.
  • Elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, 2007.

 

The Sculpting Process

Anthony first develops the ideas and designs for his sculptures through sketches and maquettes (small practice sculptures). When the design has been finalised, the next stage is the construction of an armature – the metal skeleton onto which the clay is added.

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Once the clay sculpture is complete, Anthony makes a silicon rubber mould, capturing every detail of the clay. This mould is then used to create a hollow wax replica, exactly the same as the original sculpture.

At the foundry additional rods of wax (‘sprues’) are added so that the air can escape during the pouring of the bronze.

Next, the wax is ‘invested’ – coated in a layer of fire-proof ceramic – and then heated to melt out the wax, leaving a hollow shell. (Hence the name for this process of casting; ‘lost wax’ casting). It is into this hollow shell that the molten bronze is poured.

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When the bronze has cooled the ceramic shell is broken off to reveal the bronze casting inside. The casting is then cleaned-up, filed, and sanded. If the sculpture is large, and was cast in several sections, this is when the various parts are welded together.

The final stage is the patination, or ‘colouring’ of the bronze; the most exhilarating moment of the whole process. It is possible to create an almost infinite range of colours and tones through the application of heat and chemicals to the surface of the bronze. The transformation from a shiny piece of bronze to beautifully coloured sculpture is remarkable. Only at that moment do all the months of work come to fruition and the sculpture is complete!

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Copyright © 2022 Anthony Smith