Aphra Behn commission

25 January, 2022 – 5:12 pm

Last November I was notified about a potential commission, one which if I got would have taken me 10 months and would have been an exceptional project to be involved with.

Sadly I didn’t get shortlisted but I thought that I would share my proposal with you. I spent many hours researching and planning, I made a full scale maquette to help me realise how large the sculpture would need to be and to plan my scale drawings.

I sculpted it out of Plaster of Paris, built up over a wire frame and polystyrene and then carved it with smal chisels and a scalpel. She had a long nose a large forehead and a double chin but she wasn’t fat. It was the fashion in the 17th Century.

I carved her name in a piece of the French limestone that I proposed using in her handwriting.

These are my concept sketches and preliminary drawings to work out how she could be represented. I wanted her to be on the same level as the viewers and also to be something people could interact with.

Apparently she liked to sit in inns and write, obviously being able to listen in on conversations to help inspire her writing. I also wanted it to be almost like a stage and somewhere that people could actually sit with her. Part of the design incorporated a stone bench opposite her that you could sit at.

I wanted my statue to look like she was about to strike up a conversation, a bit like my What’s the question? statue that I carved.

The design incorporates 2 walls one carved like an open book with lines from a poem, I would have carved it in her handwriting. There was a porthole in the shape of an ellipse, like her image in her anthology, but you get to look through this and see the statue of Aphra sitting on the other side.

The other wall would have had a small mullioned window that you can see her through, underneath that was a quatrefoil like the ones found at her parish church, St Margaret’s in Canterbury.

This wall would be recessed to give the illusion of quoins stones and I would have built knapped flint into the wall to copy the walls of the buildings she would have grown up with.

Outside walls.

The inside would have had Aphra sitting at a table, her quill resting on the table and her hand around a cup of ale just looking up to speak. I would have carved ‘shelves’ with books on with names of people relevant to her, her contemporaries and people who have been inspired by her, a globe to represent her travels as a spy for Charles II among other objects that would have become more researched as I developed my project and obviously the bench for anyone who wanted to sit down with her.


I also shared photos of my war memorial commission as an example of my large scale work.

And photos of my sculpture that I carved for Highgate cemetery.

I submitted this video as my presentation along with my supporting documents. I wanted them to meet me and to get and hopefully understand what I wanted to produce for them.

I really hope that you enjoy this and I look forward to producing many more beautiful pieces inspired by Aphra Behn for you to enjoy.


Post a Comment