Portrait Busts

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In 2010 The RC Church of Edward the Confessor in Golders Green asked me to produce 6 likenesses of prominent Catholic priests: Cardinal Hume, Archbishop (now Cardinal) Nicholls, Ronald Knox, Cardinal Bourne, Cardinal Newman and Father Bendon who was the first priest of this particular church.

As is customary with this particular work, we gathered as much visual information as possible, utilising image libraries. However, we made our own drawings from the photographs as when we draw we discover and make prominent the characteristics that make each face unique.

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We used a Bath Stone called Elm Park which was the building stone of the original church. It is fine and soft, but hardens on contact with air over time.

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My friend John Dasgupta (below) carving Hume. Note the various drawing/studies in the background.

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And this is the finished likeness.

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Cardinal Newman (below)

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Ronald Knox (below).

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We then installed them in the interior of the church using stainless steel dowels, epoxy resin and lime pointing.

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We hired Geraint to undertake a delicate Bath stone repair job as part of an extensive English Heritage external refurb. We required the job to be turned around quickly. He promptly attended site to measure up and take profiles of the decorative stone work we needed to match in and repair. Later that day I had a price which was approved. Due to his connections he managed to get the supplier to deliver and cut the stone in double quick time which was then worked quickly in his work shop. Lastly he attended the site and fitted all the stone work which slotted in perfectly and once painted you genuinely wouldn’t know the difference. All in all, top service, true professional at what he does and he will be first person I call if/when I need stone work done again in the future.
Patrick Steppel, Managing Director PML Construction Ltd