David Wynne is not a name that you regularly hear when the topic of sculpture comes up, but it should be, and particularly if you are a Londoner. Wynne has created more London sculptures than any other twentieth century artist and I would not mind betting that you have seen many of them, admired them, but never stopped to wonder who produced them. So indulge me for a moment while I list a few before discussing his life.
The iconic Boy with a Dolphin on London's Embankment; Girl with a Dolphin outside the Tower Bridge hotel; the centrepiece of the Queen Mother Gates in Hyde Park; the statue of Fred Perry outside centre court at Wimbledon; The Dancers and Girl with Doves in the gardens at Cadogan Place and Cadogan Square and Guy the Gorilla in London Zoo. The other iconic design that he produced is the version of the 50 pence coin with the nine interlinked hands on the back to acknowledge our entry into the European Common Market in 1973. I could go on but I guess the point is made - David Wynne was one of our most gifted sculptors.
He was born in the New Forest where he learned to draw and observe nature , much like another one of our favourite artists her at Blondes Fine Art - Lucy Kemp-Welch. He was sent away to Stowe school at the age of 13 where is interest in drawing and natural history were encouraged to the extent that he was later accepted at Trinity College , Cambridge to read Zoology. He was required to do National Service, and decided to follow in his fathers footsteps by joining the Royal Navy and it is his travels to the far east and the huge temple sculptures of Budda that seem to have convinced him to be a sculptor.
So upon his return to Cambridge in 1949 he pursued his passion and amazingly, the then Master of Trinity , G.M. Trevelyan sent David a note saying " The Fellows of this College have decided that you will be more use in the world as a sculptor than a zoologist, therefore you are excused all lectures and will not be required to sit examinations. We hope that you will continue at Trinity for the rest of your time,however two things must not suffer:the May boat which you are stroking and May Ball, which you will be asked to bring back to its pre-war splendour." (p19-20 Life and work of David Wynne - David Elliot)
Some 10 years later David got his fist really big commission Teamwork was an enormous granite sculpture for Taylor Woodrow which as at the time one of the largest statues in Europe and one that was for many years located at Hanger Lane in London for all to admire as they sat stationary in the 1970/80's traffic jams.
David Wynne's work is now all over the UK and indeed, the world . His passion for wildlife has seen him produce many works that capture that spirit of nature, eventually combined his childhood love of animals with a successful career as a sculptor. He went on to produce sculptures of both the Queen and Prince Charles as well as many other noted individuals such as The Beetles and Yhudi Menuhin . However, he also contributed a number of religious works to the great Cathedrals of the UK such as Christ for Wells and Christ and Mary Magdalene for Ely. The breadth of his ability is phenomenal and his name should really be more widely known, so next time you are in London take a look for his work and make sure you share the name David Wynne with anyone else admiring his work.