Pirate and Explorer

Here we are already well into August. We had a well deserved break and some work for a

private client but it’s nice to get back into the studio again. We are delighted with the reaction to our new website and wish to thank everyone for their comments and interest.

We have been commissioned to make a life sized figure of William Dampier (1651-1715). An extraordinary man, part time pirate, explorer, naturalist, the first person to circumnavigate the world three times, the first Englishman to explore parts of Australia. He recorded what he saw in his journals which, when published, won him fame if not fortune and the support of the British Admiralty.

His inclination towards piracy, brutality towards crew members, bad luck and misfortune dogged his voyages and when, in 1715, he made a long and profitable voyage serving under Woodes Rogers (a pirate turned pirate hunter) he died before he could receive his share of the £ 200’000 profit (something like £ 20’000’000 in present day value).

Top left:    The fun begins ! There is something immensely satisfying about covering a good friend’s hand with bright blue goo !
Top right:  This is what emerges when we cut away the blue casing and fill it with resin. William Dampier’s hand holding a beautiful seashell sent to us from Australia by an old friend.

Dampier’s right hand is holding a sketchbook and crayon holder, here we have used a piece of folded cardboard to represent the sketchbook. The blue silicon covering the hand is coated with plaster bandage so that when the model withdraws his hand the plaster layer will help the silicon to keep its shape.

Our figure of William Dampier nears completion. Sam Embleton starts working on details. The face and hands are first given a strongly coloured undercoat to give the impression of a strongly tanned skin in hot climate. We decided to show him in his work clothes as he scrambles about Shark Bay in Western Australia. He wears stout and much used sea boots as it is quite a dangerous place to explore barefooted.
He has taken a dog lock pistol (beautifully made for us by Paul Sawney, an English gun maker) because he normally feels naked without it. Flint, powder and shot are in his pocket but his mind is on his work as a naturalist rather than piracy and his sketchbook is held ready for action…

 

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