I first became aware of Tom Merrifield in 1990 when I recovered a stolen edition of his sculpture , Marion Tait " Fantasy" which had been stolen by means of Burglary from a North London house. I visited Tom in his Hampstead home where he was able to identify the sculpture and provide the details of the victim of the crime, thus allowing me to reunite it with the lawful owners. He was the most helpful and engaging of men who made time to tell me about his work and career.
I remember his house was full of his work with paintings and sculptures of dancers filling the rooms. He was keen to tell me about each work and I was fascinated by his story. Tom had been a dancer initially in his native Australia and later in shows, films and ballet in London. This made a great deal of sense to me because the bronzes had a wonderful sense of movement that could only have been understood by someone who had intimate understanding of dance. The other thing I learnt was that Tom had never had any formal training in drawing , panting or sculpture which I found hard to believe looking at his work. He exuded a passion for dance , sculpture, drawing and indeed for his cats which were also a regular feature of his drawings. He also explained how he had been commissioned to produce the Society of West end theatre award which was a lovely bronze of a naked dancer.
It was a privelede to meet him and when some many years later I had the opportunity to purchase an early bronze from a small edition in the late 1980's I jumped at it. The work we have on offer is " Lisa " 23 cm in height and an edition of 8. The work is actually depicted in the catalouge that Tom gave me when I met him all those years ago. The ballerina herself is none other than Lisa Macuja-Elizalde who was Prima Ballerina. In 1984, she became the first Filipina prima ballerina, and first foreign soloist to ever join the Kirov Ballet.
This is just one of a long list of the most famous ballerinas and dancers that have been sculpted by Tom Merrifield because they know that he knows how to ensure the work is accurate. In his early career he danced with the Borovansky Ballet in Australia and when the Biography of Borovanskywas written, some years ago now, Tom merrifield was described thus" His ws the most rarest of all qualities, the dancer's persona, the innate quality that attracts an audiences attention from the moment of entrance"