David Wynne Remembered

David Wynne, the sculptor, died a few days ago aged eighty-eight.

His extraordinary career has been well described in the obituary which appeared in the Daily Telegraph last week.

Readers who require a more full-blooded account should see Boy with a Dolphin by David Elliott, which Quartet published in 2010, written with the full cooperation of the sculptor and extensively illustrated with many photographs from David Wynne’s private archives.

Despite his achieving more public commissions for work in London than any other artist, the art establishment mostly ignored his achievements and scandalously belittled his skills and artistic vision.

David Wynne never attended art school, used a gallery to obtain his commissions, nor had any regard for fashionable aesthetic conventions. His work was collected by patrons around the world and, even in his eighties, the sculptor continued to gain important commissions.

From the iconic Boy with a Dolphin on London’s Embankment, to the centrepiece of The Queen Mother Gate in Hyde Park; his three-quarter life-size statue of Fred Perry outside the Centre Court at Wimbledon, to his awe-inspiring Christ on the west front of Wells Cathedral, his work is evidence of his fierce, overwhelming desire to create beautiful sculpture which paid no heed to convention.

For four years he collaborated with David Elliott to tell the story of his remarkable life.  More anecdotal and event-based than artistic critique, Boy with a Dolphin sought to be a rounded portrait of a man who rendered his love of life and his wonder at the beauty of all things into a body of work which stands as testament to a unique creative vision. It remains a definitive account of his life and achievement.

I met David Wynne with the author a number of times at his studio-cum-home in Fulham. Although I had the feeling he could be a difficult man to please, our encounters were always amiable and he showed me a real warmth which was rather endearing. Then the penny dropped when I realised why. He considered me a sort of soul mate by virtue of the fact that we both loved women and enjoyed their aura. God bless him!

A limited edition of 150 copies of the book with an exclusive signed print of a gazelle by the sculptor was created at the time of publication. As well as the trade edition, available from bookshops or Amazon, there are copies left of the limited edition @ £150, available from Quartet directly.

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