Six new horse sculptures by Hamish Mackie to be unveiled in London
Photography credit: Copyright Steve Russell Studios, images courtesy of Hamish Mackie.
The renowned British animal sculptor, Hamish Mackie, will unveil six life size and a quarter, bronze horses at a new residential development in Aldgate East, London on 25th June 2015. Commissioned by Berkeley Homes, the six bronze horses, will be placed in a beautifully landscaped garden designed by Murdoch Wickham.
What does it take to set six giant bronze sculptures – each weighing a tonne – into a densely populated residential cityscape? When Hamish Mackie, Britain’s foremost wildlife sculptor, turned his attention to the equine form with this major public commission for Berkeley Homes, his ambitious vision was brought to life with a staggering 6.5 tonnes of clay over 1km of armature steel. To cast them in bronze and accommodate their scale, Lockbund Foundry in Oxfordshire had to build a whole new foundry; setting the galloping horses into the landscape was an engineering coup masterminded by Martin Walker and John Murdoch.
These equine sculptures bring to life the history of the site, where once Mr. Goodman leased out the fields for London’s livery horses. In creating them, Mackie imagined a group of six horses bolting free from their livery stables. Hurtling in an arc through the piazza towards Leman Street their lead stallion, the Andalusian, rears up dramatically at the traffic – eyeballing commuters on London’s double-decker buses. Cast in museum quality bronze at Lockbund Foundry, these six magnificent and dynamic horses are cast with Mackie’s sweeping movements and ‘alive with the relationship he has formed with that animal in the making,’ comments Nancy Minshull-Beech, curator for the commission.
Interestingly, Mackie began his career as a sculptor in a converted carthorse stable, and became known for his ability to capture the essence, movement and energy of wild animals in their natural habitat. He models directly into clay after an intense period of observation, conjuring a beguiling mix of anatomical precision with an impressionistic finish, expressing the individual character of each animal he sculpts.
Berkeley Homes’ unique development of Goodman’s Fields, includes two acres of landscaped space within walkable distance of the City of London, with this ambitious commission by Hamish Mackie at its heart.
To achieve this, they have commissioned some of the leading technical and landscaping engineers in the UK. John Murdoch of Murdoch Wickham Landscape Architects, has designed a landscape that matches the horses in beauty and ambition: mature trees, pools and fountains follow the curved path of their charge through the piazza with no details spared. A ghost trail marking the exact distance between the hooves of a galloping horse, created with water and light, has been set into the path. Water feature specialist Ustigate, worked directly with Mackie to angle the fountains according to the horses stride. Martin Walker’s technical genius allowed each giant one tonne horse to run free through the landscape with only hidden internal support.
‘The attention to detail on this project has been phenomenal and I am so grateful to Berkeley Homes for giving us all such free reign to achieve our vision,’ Hamish Mackie.
These horses echo London’s rich equine history, galloping unbridled where once the workhorses grazed, into the city’s future – providing an emotive and spectacular link for this new business and residential quarter with its history of commerce, trade, and livestock. This centerpiece for Berkeley Homes destination development, showcases the best of British sculpture, engineering and architecture, and will prove an iconic landmark, highlighting the profound relationship the City, built on horse-power, has with this magnificent animal.