Recreating Titanic's Cherub (full size)
Titanic cherub's Royal prototype
Pierre Granier's L'enfant avec la Torche on Le Parterre d'Eau at Versailles is a near twin (though considerably larger) to the Olympic/Titanic cherubs. Alan St. George measures the height, while respected Chicago photographer, Dan Rest, takes 250 photos all around the statue across the extremely long Bassin du Nord with a telephoto lens.
Thanks to the research team
These fine people, all experts in their fields, made this project possible:
•Dan Rest, noted Chicago photographer for over 40 years
Dan flew to France and took excellent 360 degree shots of Titanic's prototype cherub at Versailles.
• Ken Marschall, Titanic artist, author, researcher, expert
Ken tirelessly gave time, archival photographs, calculation methods, and crucial advice.
•Daniel Klistorner, Titanic author and researcher
Daniel confirmed the results by using his own calculation methods and research.
•Bill Sauder, Titanic author and researcher
Bill provided the measurements of RMS Titanic's bronze base brought up from the ocean floor.
So how tall was it?
It took a full month of study and correspondence with our very generous RMS Titanic experts to answer that question. Calculations and experiments were conducted in Havencrest Castle's ballroom. The image illustrates one of the experiments with a ruler standing atop a mock-up representing the largest overall surface of the newel post/pedestal that held the cherub on Olympic and Titanic. This experiment was performed (8) times and the results were averaged out. The height was further confirmed by knowing the diameter of Titanic's bronze cherub base brought up from the ocean floor, and the standard sizes of flambeau glass shades produced circa 1910. In the end, it was determined that Titanic's sculptor (sadly, unknown) made a very accurate 30% reduction of Pierre Granier's sculpture L'enfant avec la Torche at France's most famous chateau.
After making two scale models, calculating correct size, studying both archival and Versailles photographs, the armature is begun at last.
At last the armature was made for the full-sized cherub in steel and aluminum. Next, major masses were 'fleshed-out' with styrofoam to reduce weight.
Overlaying outlines of the archival photographs onto photos of the clay sculpture in progress provided crucial guidance.
Getting the basic figure right
Overlaying outlines of the archival photographs onto photos of the clay sculpture throughout weeks of progress provided crucial guidance to ensure the accuracy of the figure.
"Roughing in" hair and drapery
With the anatomy correct, the hair and drapery are 'blocked' in. Facial features and body parts will still continue to be tweaked right through the process until the very end.
Photos are "not reality"
Recently, my oldest friend, Dan Rest, a professional photographer all his life told me this. He said people see a photo and they think they are seeing reality, but actually all photos are abstractions. These views of the statue were all taken on the same day at roughly the same angle. How different they look. Notice how small changes in the angle/lens position and lighting make a difference in the appearance of the figure.
Grape Pendants Detail
Sculpted and cast separately, the grapes will add the final detail to the top of the torch/cornucopia. The flambeau shade will be glass, and the lamp electrical like the original.
Ready for the foundry
Artists call this stage the "life" of the statue. Soon he is transported to the foundry for mold-making and the "death." Finally, in Sept/Oct when the bronze is completed we will have the "resurrection."
Alan St. George surveys his sculpture of the full-sized Titanic cherub lamp for the final time before transport to the foundry.
Ken Marschall says:
"Oh, wow, Alan...it's just incredible. You're doing it right...For the first time since the original sculptor circa 1911. Fabulous job!"
Collaborating for Authenticity
After viewing the Titanic Exhibition at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs, the Titanic painter and the Titanic sculptor teamed up to capture RMS Olympic's fine carvings.
Casting Molds of Olympic's Newel Carvings
Alan St. George and Ken Marschall preserving (3) three of Ken's RMS Olympic newel post facings in silicone rubber molds. Eventually, the carvings will be cast, then applied to the white oak pedestal being crafted to hold Alan's full-sized bronze cherub lamp.
Pushing the Envelope
A first for Alan St. George: Using a hotel room as a studio was definitely "outside the box."
Underneath the circa 1933 green/gold paint lies the very same oak, cut from the very same trees, carved by the very same hands that created the decorative details on Titanic!
Pouring the Rubber
Encapsulating century-old fine carvings with high-tech silicone rubber to preserve history.
Experience the mold-making as it happened in a hotel room "somewhere" near Long Beach, CA.
'Cherub de Milo'
Always shocking to see sculptures dismembered, but a necessary step in the process. Here he is at inBronze Foundry in Mt. Morris, IL awaiting mold-making.
Mold-making at the foundry
Covered in the first coat of rubber, he will receive five more coats, and then a fiberglass back-up mold for support. The resulting mold will be used to produce the waxes.
Six coats of rubber in place, he awaits a fiberglass back-up mold for support. The resulting mold will be used to produce the waxes.
1/2 of the fiberglass back-up mold is now in place. The silicone rubber holds all of the details, the fiberglass holds everything rigidly in place.
Hand with torch
The first piece of bronze is revealed 10-09-17. That network of bronze you see around it are the sprues, gates, and pouring cup which will be cut-off. The white is the remnants of the ceramic shell mold, which will be meticulously cleaned off. Lots of work to do yet. Estimating 2 weeks for photos of a finished bronze.
The second piece of bronze revealed. The white is the remnants of the ceramic shell mold, which will be meticulously cleaned off. Lots of work to do yet. Estimating 2 weeks for photos of a finished bronze.