Ever wondered what goes into producing a replica of a living legend, such as Valegro? That is exactly what a Gloucestershire sculptor is currently working on, producing a bronze half-life size statue of Valegro in the town of Newent.
Georgie Welch is the sculptor selected for the project, and is currently at the stage of perfecting a smaller model — called a maquette — of Valegro in mid-piaffe, which will then be scaled up to the full-size statue.
“I first heard about it on Gloucestershire radio and applied, then months later I received an email with an invitation to submit some drawings,” remembers Georgie. “So I changed all my plans so I could do the pitch. For the first time in my life I was really determined to get it. I’m competitive when I’m on a horse, but other than that not all — until the Valegro pitch.”
Once it was confirmed that Georgie had been successful, the first step was meeting Valegro himself.
“I couldn’t wait to see him; I did lots of skeletal measurements and came home to start the armature [framework]. Then I had a good chat with Carl [Hester] and we sat him back on his haunches more as his centre of gravity was originally too far forward.
“My hands don’t work as quickly as my head, but it’s all about being methodical, and not losing the feeling that you get when you see him — he totally blows me away and I’ve got to inject that passion in to this. It’s easy when you have such a wonderful model; I just want to do him justice.”
Once the basic aluminium framework is complete, Georgie starts crafting Valegro’s body using a soft clay, always bearing in mind how her final maquette will translate into bronze.
“I want to get his expression right, and also the carriage in his ribs and body,” says Georgie. “People will know straight away if something’s not right!
“I sat watching videos of him for about eight hours before I started as I had to feel as though I knew him, and get a sense of what was in his mind.”
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Once Carl, Charlotte Dujardin and Alan Davies (Valegro’s groom) are happy with the maquette — which is a sixth of life-size — Georgie will start welding up an armature for the final sculpture.
“The armature for the statue will be in a metal that I won’t be able to bend, so I’ll have to carefully plot all the joints — from ground to fetlock to knee to elbow to the point of shoulder etc — and distances between them, as well as comparative measurements,” explains Georgie.
“I equate sculpting to the same feeling you get when you’re schooling a horse in the way you can lose track of time, and everything comes together.”
The final sculpture launch is scheduled for spring 2019 and you can watch its creation in action here.
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