Sally Arnup FRBS ARCA

One of the images shown here is The Duke of Edinburgh’s Fell Pony ‘Storm’ commissioned for His Royal Highness’s 80th Birthday. This goes only a small way to demonstrating the immense talent that is Sally Arnup.

“It is no mean achievement to be able to convey the character,  and characteristics,  of individual animals in bronze. Sally Arnup has a wealth of experience in the sculpture of animals,  and she also has the talent to capture their personality. her speciality may not conform to the contemporary fashion for abstract art,  but her style is nonetheless unique and timeless” His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

“I first met Sally at the Royal College of Art,  Sculpture School in 1956.  After two years National Service,  I arrived there desperate to pick up where I had left off,  before those most interesting army experiences. I wanted to get on with the business of making sculpture. I relished the atmosphere that prevailed at the College then,  under the leadership of John Skeaping.  Sally was a fellow student,  one of a group who had already made serious decisions about their preferred subject matter and mode of working. This stance I admired because my two years away from any art school atmosphere had helped me to make the same kind of decision.  Curiously,  despite the art world being in a state of flux and confusion,  we both made the choice to working directly from the world as we saw and experienced it.  In Sally’s case her decision was to make the animal world her primary subject,  and soon after the RCA,  was to become firmly established as our leading animalier, with a growing national and international reputation.

Although Sally always works directly from her subject, she is not concerned just with simple rendering of appearance, but with the very character and nature of the individual creatures.  She interprets her direct study according to the final material, usually modelling for her preferred medium of lost-wax cast bronze, which she handles with understanding.  Always making the waxes herself, she gains great control and the best foundry results.  Her sculptures in ceramic show equal mastery, exploiting its unique qualities too.  However the material is always subservient to the image.  Her control over the medium allows Sally to explore bronze differences between fur and feathers, and describe the skin of an amphibian.  It enables her to express the joy she feels in the humorous antics of a puppy, the fleetness of a trotting horse, the sublime lugubriousness of a bloodhound, and the puffed-up pride of a turkey.  Her animal world is the domestic one of the interaction between man and beast, which she views and reveals, with candour and humour.

Sally is a great supporter of other sculptors, always interested in what others are doing, always willing to exchange valuable advice and experience.  She relishes encounters with other sculptors, be they at the foundry, the studio or an exhibition.  A visit from Sally, and discussions in the studio, always leaves one anxious to get back to work, to confirm the helpful confidence or criticism she imparts.  To her the business of making sculpture is a serious affair and is always treated as such.  Her breadth of art knowledge is wide and her knowledge and curiosity for and of sculpture is profound.  This confirms her correct desire to see her work and imagination as part of the continuing tradition that is sparked off by the real world.  Exploring the nature of sculpture as it has existed since mankind first began making symbols to worship, hunt or simply to study and enjoy.” John W Mills PPRBS,  ARCA,  FRSA