Wax for Madame Tussauds. 1995.
Jean-Paul Gaultier gave an initial sitting for photographs and measurements. A few of us from Madame Tussauds took the completed portrait figure to Paris, where he was filming Eurotrash. We set the figure up in the monitor room and enjoyed the response as the crew arrived for the evening's work.
Wax for Madame Tussauds. 1992, Portrait circa 1983.
David Hockney had given a sitting for photographs and measurements, ten years previously, to another sculptor, which I used, in addition to a filmed interview of him for The South Bank Show in 1983. He is portrayed from this period. It was important to me that I should attempt to reflect his volubility and ingenuous quality. This figure and my portrait figure of Henry Moore were lent by Madame Tussauds to be shown at The Royal College of Art as part of their centenary celebrations, 1996, alongside their works. I was told that while there, someone had approached the figure of David Hockney to say hello! Much loved by the college, they are both still there.
Clay and wax for Madame Tussauds. 1995.
The Henry Moore Foundation generously gave complete access to their archive. He is portrayed while still in his prime, although in his later years. It was an image of him I'd seen when at the Chelsea School of Art and first became aware of his work. I realised it was a photograph of him c.1969, on the front cover of the magazine Arts Review, which was the inspiration. His daughter came to the studio a few times while I was working on the clay, to make helpful suggestions. She allowed me to pick out clothing for the figure from Henry Moore's wardrobe at his house in Perry Green.
The figure is holding an accurate copy of one of his own maquettes. This was made by friend and fellow sculptor Stuart Williamson, in Henry Moore’s studio directly from the original work.
The wax portrait figure of Henry Moore was loaned to The Holburne Museum in Bath for their ‘Presence: The Art of Portrait Sculpture’ - May-September 2012. Included in this Exhibition were portrait sculpture treasures from The British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, alongside giants of 20th Century sculpture, Brancusi,Giacometti, Degas, Frank Dobson and from the 21st Century, Ron Mueck.
Clay for Madame Tussauds. 1985.
Although not from a sitting, as this work is 1985, there is however wonderful photographic reference. There is a shot of him in this pose but with a very contorted expression due to the high note. It is important to have more than one photograph to do such an extreme expression successfully, but it also gave me the opportunity to express other aspects.
I found a model for the figure in a sports shop. He was so pleased to be posing for Jimi he couldn't stop smiling throughout the sitting. I had to mask off his face in my photographs, as it was giving me the wrong mood for the portrait.
Clay for Madame Tussauds. 2000.
Billy gave two sittings for this portrait figure, the first only for photos and measurements. Fortunately he had shaved his beard and moustache off by the second sitting, so I was able to resolve the mouth area. I was often working against the clock at Madame Tussauds and found that I was able to increase the intensity of the expression after I had removed the hair for the mould to be made. There was no time to re-apply it for the photo. The sittings were fantastic fun with such a hilarious raconteur.