By Nigel Baxter
Hello, welcome and thank you for your interest in this project which I hope will encourage you to take part and enjoy the making of something so very special to Ireland's heritage.
My name is Nigel Baxter. I'm a stone carver of some forty years working out of the UK. My background and experience has passed through many levels, phases and transitions too many to expand on at this point but you are welcome to ask questions during this, our project time together.
Seamus Murphy is arguably one of Ireland's most prolific sculptors. His legacy is carried across both his homeland and abroad and culminates in his wonderful moving book 'Stone Mad' which epitomizes the raw human elements found in the creative minds of craftsmen of a bygone era and which for me was my first introduction to him during my early years as an apprentice carver. To capitalise and emphasise his importance the complete process from block to final stage will be undertaken in the studios of the Crawford Art College the very establishment that Seamus initially studied drawing as a boy in the 1920's. Once completed the aim is to find a permanent site within Cork City possibly Fitzgerald Park where Seamus founded Sculpture Park or in a more central location perhaps The Library or Gallery. Of course your suggestions are welcome.
Part costs are self-funded incl:
The purchase, quarrying and shipping of the stone to Cork.
Fund it fees
Required additional funding incl:
Operational costs. The specialist crating, transportation and final installation.
I have a great affinity with Seamus. Not only because I love Cork but coming from an identical stone background having been apprenticed, after a brief term at art college, by a former apprentice of the English carver Eric Gill from whom Seamus fashioned his modernistic style. 1983 saw me establish the Butlers Wharf workshop on London's South Bank restoring many prominent buildings including Westminster Abbey, St Paul's and the Parliament Buildings. In more recent years I've given rebirth to the practice of carving portrait busts.
I foresee little risk to the completion of the project and the only possible challenge may be in deciding the final safe installation which could require official approval.
Cork City has abundant reminders of the great and the good in a variety of guises and Seamus has somehow slipped into obscurity without remembrance in any significant form. My aim is to rectify that. As a Cork man of admirable talent Seamus should be recognised as such and what more fitting way than to carve his portrait for all the city and beyond to celebrate and be immortalised in the way all 'stonies' should.
Your pledges are an opportunity to play a part in immortalising the memory of a man who is seen by many to be one of a long list of Irish artistic greats and to assist in illustrating to the world the pride Ireland has for it's talented past craftsman.