New Nelson Figurehead

New_Nelson_FigureheadThis years London Boat show held at the ExCel Centre in the London Docklands between the 8th and 12th January saw the first public appearance of the Hampshire based carver Glyn Foulkes new figurehead of the iconic British Naval hero Horatio Lord Nelson.

Well known for his original three dimensional artwork across a wide range of media and styles,for the unique carving Glyn has spent a considerable amount of time in the galleries of the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth researching the numerous images of Nelson, from the museums major collection of related  paintings, decorative arts to the evocative life and death masks, building up a feel of  how the real Nelson looked, the man behind the legend, once this essential research was completed a half size clay model of the figurehead was made, historically cavers of such an important and significant commission produced a small Maquette for the client  showing how they hoped the  finished carving would look,  these models also served as a three-dimensional  guide for the finished carving with a number of minor changes.

New_Nelson_Figurehead3Once the model is established, it’s time to carve, but not until a large  wooden block is produced, a hundred years ago carvers would still have had  access to large solid blocks of well seasoned wood on hand to work with , today for modern day carvers lamination is the only option available, and as such must form the first stage in a large project like this,  Lime is the wood of choice, a block is laminated from 200mmx 50mm planks 1.9m long  14 planks wide and 2 deep producing a block of about the right size for the finished carving, today modern figurehead carvers have to spend a considerable amount of time working on this block before any real creative work can begin, a number of the planks have the front profile cut out with a jigsaw before laminating, with a few extra blocks to form the elbow of the left arm and the telescope.

Victorian Carvers would work weeks on such a project, today months are needed to allow the blocks to be build up, layer after layer. Using as reference the half size clay model, the first stage of roughing out with a chainsaw and large gouges begins to bring a recognizable form to the block, the true art and skill of carving now takes place, with the use of smaller and more precise chisels, once the Figurehead is finished the “Hunter Figurehead Archives” will publish a full photo gallery of the project, with additional information on the project and the future of the carving when completed.

Glyn is one of Britain’s leading carvers, studied sculpture at Southampton Art School and then on to St Martin’s School of Art. In the late 60’s, working in a wide variety of materials, mostly Figurative, from naturalistic portraiture to more New_Nelson_Figurehead2stylized work based on historical styles found in ships figureheads, church Architecture and heraldic devices. 

Glyn Foulkes

2 Greyladyes, School Road, Bursledon, Southampton
S031 8BX, UK.
Telephone: 023 8040 3234.
Mobile: 07752 017 470
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.