Anthony Barbour – Art in the Community

Anthony Barbour of Bolesworth Estate is remembered throughout the village, not least in the sculptural legacy which was commissioned and installed under his guidance. It is doubtful that villages comparable in size to Tattenhall, can boast 3 sculptures which seek to challenge, inspire, inform and delight local residents and visitors alike.

The bronze figure entitled ‘The Lute Player’ by Peter Lyell Robinson (see below) was commissioned for the forecourt patio of the newly erected office building at Barbour Square, the patio having been specifically designed to house such a sculpture. ‘Technical Editing Services’, the tenants of the building, arranged the unveiling ceremony which took place on 24 October 1997 and which was performed by Diana Barbour.  

‘The Lute Player’ is one of a series of figurative pieces that attempt to capture the feminine spirit. The loosening-up and reduction to essentials is the artist’s quest to seek the ‘origin’. The emotional pitch is produced by the omissions, distortions and exaggerations. Moreover, in employing the sensually suggestive capacities of line, the subject is intensified by the ‘inner’ attributes at the expense of its ‘outer’ attributes. The whole, therefore, is resolved in a harmony that belies the distortion of the parts. The effect is ‘absoluteness’ – the sculpture does not speak beyond herself. She is self-contained.

Peter Lyell Robinson who sculpts under the name ‘Lyell’, is known to admire the work of ‘Mestrovic’, a Croatian sculptor, who rose to fame in the first quarter of the 20th century and who completed a number of sculptures of women playing musical instruments. Mestrovic’s ‘Girl with a Lute’, in fact, was purchased for the Tate Gallery in 1930 by Lord Duveen. Mestrovic said of his works ‘They are an expression of my feelings and longing for harmony between us and the whole world’.Perhaps the residents of Tattenhall have similar considerations when they pass Lyell’s sculpture in Barbour Square.

In the year of the Millennium celebrations, a further bronze sculpture was commissioned by Anthony Barbour entitled ‘Fetch’ or ‘Man and Dog’ (see below). This sculpture was created by Glasgow born, Shona Kinloch, who specialises in animal and figurative bronzes and who has received several commissions for public sculptures in Scotland. In England too, her public commissions have included ‘Seagulls’ (Morecambe) and ‘The Sock’ (Loughbourgh). Her work is also permanently exhibited on five Royal Caribbean cruise liners, namely: ‘The Seagull has Landed’, ‘La Grande Dame et La Petit Chien’, ‘Not Too Cold?’, ‘Catch’, ‘Fore’ and ‘Are You Ready?’ 

Shona Kinloch’s sculpture fulfilled several objectives: in marking the provision and completion of the privately managed retirement accommodation by the ‘English Courtyard Association’ (built on land sold to them by Bolesworth Estate) and in the completion of the ‘second’ office building development in Barbour Square. It was always hoped that the sculptures would promote debate and curiosity but that they would also complement the local development.

Since the Website relates to ‘Tattenhall and District’ it was also felt appropriate to include a third sculpture commissioned by Anthony Barbour, entitled ‘Dancers’ by the London born sculptor ‘Ben Panting’ (see below). The work of Ben Panting spans two distinctive styles, namely figurative pieces and those that provide a more abstract approach. It is the latter style that was commissioned by Anthony Barbour and which represents a ‘structural drawing’; a synthesis of drawing and sculpture. The technique used in the creation of the sculpture ‘Dancers’ (located at Chowley Oak Business Park) uses the manipulation of forged stainless steel. Perhaps the residents of the locality consider this to be the most controversial of the commissioned works, or perhaps not. In the words of Anthony Barbour ‘that is how it should be with sculpture’.  

Particular thanks to Diana Barbour, Bolesworth Estate, in assisting with the creation of this Webpage. Photographic images by Nick Hastings-Winch (see Links). For direct access to the Websites of each Sculptor, use the ‘Links’ facility on the Toolbar.                                                                                                               



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