Dog sculpture commissions are among the most challenging projects I undertake. The bond between dog and owner is a special thing. Dogs share our lives. They are part of the family. And they are always there for us. They fill our days with joy, laughter and companionship. They take us into the outdoors and, year after year, they share in our adventures.
This bond of family and friendship is sadly what makes it so difficult to say goodbye to a beloved family dog when the fateful day finally comes. Last summer I was contacted about one such dog by a close friend of her owner. Meggie the Dobermann turned out to be one of those dogs that steal your heart.
A dog like Meggie is never forgotten. One way to commemorate her life is to commission an animal sculpture, and this is exactly what we decided to do. Meggie would be immortalised in bronze. This was to be a secret commission, a heartfelt gift to a close friend who had suffered a terrible loss.
Stoic Meg. Beautiful Meg. Unbelievable Meg. Sweetest, funniest, dearest, kindest, sincerest Meg. Our little Meggie, our own little baby, Daddy’s girl. Meg who never, ever had any time for anybody but her own little family. Our Meggie.
Meggie had joined her family as a young dog and quickly settled into her new life. But she suffered from separation anxiety. And so it was she was soon joined by Jerry the Lurcher. Meggie and Jerry became the best of friends and were to spend the next nine years of their lives together. Two such inseparable friends could not be parted, and it was soon agreed I should make both Meggie and Jerry.
Just like people, there are many chapters in a dog’s life. We decided to depict Meggie in her youth, full of beans and brimming with life. Tail aloft, she looks up with devotion at her owner. Jerry, in true Lurcher fashion, would expend all his energy in a burst of speed before retiring for a long nap. For Jerry, then, it would have to be a sleeping pose, head buried in his paws the way only dogs can.
The Dobermann has a range of body shapes depending on where in the world they are bred. Meggie was a deeper chested type with a full length, expressive tail and natural ears. Jerry was a large lurcher with a wiry ruff on his withers. They make quite the pair, as you can see.
Understanding the idiosyncratic character of an individual animal requires detailed study. The shape of an ear, the curve of an eyelash; these are the subtleties that distinguish one dog from another. Capturing these delicate nuances in clay takes a lot of time and work. And when sculpting at a smaller scale, as here, the work requires meticulous attention to detail.
The completed dog sculpture commissions were couriered to Castle Fine Arts Foundry in Stroud. Using a British foundry means that quality and excellence is at the heart of the product. They have highly skilled artisans working on the moulds, waxes, metalwork and patination.
I personally check and refine each wax model before it is cast in bronze. Once cast, the metalwork is again checked and refined before the final patination. We decided on a traditional brown finish for Meggie and Jerry. Of course, nothing can replace our faithful canine companions, but a dog sculpture commission can help keep those precious memories alive.
I regularly undertake dog sculpture commissions. If you are interested in one of your own, please contact the studio for more information, pricing and options.