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Spalding's small sculptures have inspired a record-breaker

Spalding’s small but perfectly formed public art trail was the inspiration for the UK’s largest ever bronze sculpture.

Artist and sculptor Joseph Hillier was the man who made true to life, tiny sculptures of real life people that are found at key places around Spalding.

Now he’s the man in the middle of creating a statue called Messenger for the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

A sense of scale ... Joseph Hillier with his unfinished sculpture, Messenger, at Castle Fine Arts Foundry in Wales. Photo: Andrew Fox
A sense of scale ... Joseph Hillier with his unfinished sculpture, Messenger, at Castle Fine Arts Foundry in Wales. Photo: Andrew Fox

When completed, Messenger will stand 23ft (7m) high and 30ft (9m) wide.

The monumental bronze will weigh in at a mighty nine-and-a-half tonnes.

It captures a split-second pose struck by an actor during rehearsals for Othello.

As Joseph captures the nation’s attention, members of Spalding Civic Society - who dreamed up the town’s sculpture trail - are hoping more visitors will discover the tiny treasures forming the Spalding Public Art Trail.

Joseph has fond memories of his time in Spalding.

He said: “When I made Portrait of a Town for Spalding it was a new approach, working closely with many local people to create intimate portraits that I felt truly described the diversity and unique character of Spalding and its outlying areas.

“The small scale of these works stands in stark contrast to Messenger, which I am currently making for the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

“Had I not developed this new approach with the sculptures for Spalding however I would never have come up with this new piece for Plymouth.

“Working in Lincolnshire was such a valuable experience for which I will always be grateful - and especially the open hearted way so many people helped me in researching the sculptures from so many of the area’s amazing organisations including Transported, the Civic society, Ayscoughfee Hall Museum, the old forge, The Gentlemen’s Society, The Spalding Auction and all the local farmers and workers from Spalding and all over Europe who took part in and became subjects for the 14 sculptures now part of the fabric of Spalding.”


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