9 December 2018

Bronze Mischief - The Sculptures of David Goode

Take a walk in an English country garden at this time of year and you never know quite what you are going to come across. One moment you are busy doing nothing and the next moment you are caught up in a world of playful if naughty creatures from a hitherto unseen world. And for sure these are naughty – they are goblins and elves. There is none of the wafty grace of the Cottingley fairies here. These guys are up to mischief.

In fact, this is the work of David Goode (pictured left), a British sculptor based in the English county of Oxfordshire.  After having spent many years studying the human form – he was the youngest ever waxwork modeller for Madame Tussauds – he turned his attention to another world entirely.

Having spent so much time with wax, when he turned his hand to bronze work he determined that he would also make his work as believable as possible in this medium.

Goode’s intention is for you to literally turn a corner and not quite believe you eyes, to force you to do a double take before you realise that what you are seeing is a sculpture rather than a real elf or goblin. At any moment his creations could bound away, disappearing in to the shrubbery to continue their tomfoolery elsewhere.

He has made his creations to last.  His chosen medium, bronze, can persevere throughout centuries, if not millennia.  One can only wonder what some post apocalyptic archaeologist would make of his work as they carefully exhume a piece three thousand years from now!

Goode had a classical artistic training, attending the Sir Henry Doulton School of Sculpture when he was eighteen.  There he specialised in figurative and portrait sculpture, something which would serve him well when he later joined the staff of Madame Tussauds. This was in 1988 when he was only 21 years old.

He became self employed in 1994 and the year later unleashed his first gnomic collection on to the world at, of all places, the Chelsea Flower Show.  His creations were an instant hit and he has not looked back since.

The method used in the creation of these remarkable pieces is called the lost wax process.  This was developed thousands of years ago in Egypt and involves a shell mould being created and ruined in the casting of each individual piece. Although this is an expensive way of casting it ensure that the sheer detail of the pieces you can see here is preserved in each cast.

You might not be surprised to read that Goode’s inspiration for his work goes back to his childhood fascination with the writings of a certain JRR Tolkien.  Immersed in myth and folklore in his youth he has extended this fascination to his adult life and, indeed, to his career.  You would be forgiven, right now, for breathing Oh Lucky Man! under your breath in a slightly resentful tone!

You can see much more of David Goode’s work at his website by clicking here or on any of the pictures above.  As well as seeing many more of his creations (and they are not all fantasy creations) you can learn more about the process he uses in a fascinating gallery of pictures.  Kuriositas would like to thank Mr Goode for his kind permission to reproduce the pictures above (and the final one below!).