Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

When sculptor Poppy Field moved into a town of artisans near Bishop’s Stortford in November 2019, she declared that the “soul-nurturing” environment meant she could believe in the impossible.

Two years later, she has been selected for a prestigious project to produce life-size bronze figures of the Queen and Prince Philip as part of the Royal Albert Hall’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The sculptures will be unveiled for the summer.

Poppy has a 650 sq ft private studio on Grandey’s Place, Warren Park Heritage and Craft Center, near Green Tye, which was founded in 2019 by philanthropist and chocolate maker Clive Beecham to help maintain Britain’s cultural heritage craft.

Poppy Fields maquettes - small preliminary models - of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh
Poppy Fields maquettes – small preliminary models – of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh

The sculptures of the Queen and Prince Philip of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) Finns Scott Foundation researcher Poppy will fill the empty niche of the south porch of the historic building. Her colleagues Tom Brown and Tom Nicholls will produce stone figures of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for an empty niche in the north porch.

In her designer statement, Poppy said her goal was to “visually connect” the statues of Queen and Prince Philip with the depictions of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as well as “represent something unique in each statue that together would embody the romantic appeal of their royals. marriage”.

She sculpted her first maquette with the first official photographs of Queen Victoria, with her head turned at a three-quarter angle to the viewer, and a 1954 painting of the Queen in the same pose in mind. But she eventually turned the queen’s figure more towards the viewer, so that her sculpture would better “fill” the niche.

Queen and Prince Philip at the state opening of Parliament.  Photo: PA (53367032)
Queen and Prince Philip at the state opening of Parliament. Photo: PA (53367032)

Her sculpture of the prince contrasted with the queen’s pose, which conveyed a sense of “gravitas and constancy”, with the duke’s dynamic qualities brought to the fore.

Her designer statement continued: “Like Prince Albert, Prince Philip was a forward-thinking man as modern as tomorrow, and this is perfectly captured in a March 1960 press photo where – quite remarkably – Prince Philip appears to be sweeping through a doorway and at the same time maintain a level of restraint (mainly due to the characteristic tension of the hands behind the back).

“I combine the immediacy of this posture with the projection of Prince Philips’ left foot away from the base – a direct visual reference to the statue of Prince Albert in front of the south veranda.”

The commissions were given after a competition process involving a short list of seven QEST sculptors.

Poppy has a 650 m2 private studio on Grandey's Place, Warren Park Heritage and Craft Center, near Green Tye
Poppy has a 650 m2 private studio on Grandey’s Place, Warren Park Heritage and Craft Center, near Green Tye

That Indie reported in February last year how a work by Poppy had been selected from more than 1,500 contributions to perform alongside works by some of Britain’s leading artists at a major exhibition in London.

A life-size reduction in Poppy’s bronze Everything is Now – whose auction sales funded her return to the UK last year from a stay in Italy – appeared at the Royal Society of British Artists’ (RBA) annual exhibition at Mall Galleries.

She revealed that it had proved discouraging to find a suitable studio, but after being put in touch with Clive Beecham, a visit to Warren Park, as it was only a construction site, revealed its potential. And after moving to the center, she described it as “an incredible place” where she felt she could “believe in the impossible”.

Royal Albert Hall, London
Royal Albert Hall, London

Ian McCulloch, President of the Royal Albert Hall, said: “The hall is in our temporary administration and it is our duty to ensure that it is here to inspire future generations.

“I felt we should celebrate the hall’s 150th anniversary with something tangible, and these sculptures will finally complete the facade of our glorious Class I listed building.

“This anniversary gives us the opportunity to leave a legacy of high-quality public art and craftsmanship for which we are honored to commission the QEST researchers.”

Poppy's introductory maquettes, with the first official pictures of Queen Victoria, with her head turned at a three-quarter angle to the viewer, and a 1954 painting of the Queen in the same pose in mind
Poppy’s introductory maquettes, with the first official pictures of Queen Victoria, with her head turned at a three-quarter angle to the viewer, and a 1954 painting of the Queen in the same pose in mind
Poppy Field (53199205)
Poppy Field (53199205)



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By Victor

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