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Tommy 2023

A portrait of a serving Grenadier Guardsman

While relocating to their present home in Chelsea, the National Army Museum discovered a bronze bust of a WW1 ‘Tommy’ in their stores. There was no record of the identity of the soldier, or of the sculptor, and no record of how it came into the museum’s collection. The mysterious, beautiful bust was nevertheless put on display and named Tommy.

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I was commissioned in 2023 to create a companion to Tommy that would be a portrait of a soldier who is serving a hundred years later and would emphasise the contrast between them: Tommy simply wears a basic ‘Brodie’ steel helmet, the new bust wears a Kevlar combat helmet, eye protection, and personal communication kit, as currently used.

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I created the new bust, Tommy 2023, from life in two sittings at the National Army Museum. The helmet, straps, radio and mic were added in my studio from photographs. I sought to make this sculpture match the 1918 version in pose and patination, while emphasising the contrast of 100 years.

Two ‘Tommy’ Sculptures, cast 100 years apart, are now on display together at the National Army Museum.

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CREDITS:

  • Cast by Sculpture Services Ltd