Recreating Titanic's Cherub (full size)

Alan St. George researches the Versailles statue by Pierre Granier "L'enfant avec la torche" which  is the Titanic cherub lamp prototype.

NEW video...

Dan Rest, respected Chicago photographer takes 250 photos all around Pierre Granier's "L'enfant avec la Torche" at Versailles.

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.

Olympic-class bronze cherub and Versailles prototype compared
Dan Rest, respected Chicago photographer, at the Palace of Versailles.
Ken Marschall, Titanic painter, researcher, and consultant
Daniel Klistorner, Titanic author and expert
Bill Sauder, Titanic author and expert

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.

Calculating the height of Titanic's Cherub Lamp

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.

RMS Titanic Grand Staircase newels compared: D Deck and A Deck
Sculpting the small maquette for the RMS Titanic cherub
Sculpting the Titanic cherub Step One: The Armature

Getting started

After making two scale models, calculating correct size, studying both archival and Versailles photographs, the armature is begun at last.

Sculpting the Titanic cherub Step Two: Fleshing out the Armature

Baby steps

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.

Sculpting the basic, unadorned Titanic cherub in clay

Sculpting method

Overlaying outlines of the archival photographs onto photos of the clay sculpture in progress provided crucial guidance.

Recreating Lost Art: The Titanic cherub.
Sculpting the Titanic cherub

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.

Alan St George makes the full-sized RMS Titanic cherub

"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.

Making the Titanic cherub full-size 6-24-17
Sculpting the RMS Titanic cherub lamp in full size. 7-1-17
Titanic cherub lamp ready for the foundry 7-22-17

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.

At Havencrest Castle the Titanic cherub lamp ready for the foundry 7-22-17

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 makes a final inspection of his RMS Titanic cherub lamp sculpture in the entrance hall at Havencrest Castle.

Final inspection

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:

Ken Marschall globally recognized Titanic painter.

"Oh, wow, Alan...it's just incredible. You're doing it right...For the first time since the original sculptor circa 1911. Fabulous job!"

 

Ken Marschall

Titanic painter, Ken Marschall, and Titanic sculptor, Alan St. George, visit the Titanic Exhibition at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs.

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.

Titanic sculptor, Alan St. George, and Titanic painter, Ken Marschall, collaborate to preserve (3) of Ken's RMS Olympic newel post facings.

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.

Titanic sculptor, Alan St. George, mixes silicone rubber in his hotel room "studio." The century-old RMS Olympic carvings will soon be encapsulated in a new mold.

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!

Encapsulating century-old fine carvings with high-tech silicone rubber to preserve RMS Olympic history.

Pouring the Rubber

Encapsulating century-old fine carvings with high-tech silicone rubber to preserve history.

Historic Video

Experience the mold-making as it happened in a hotel room "somewhere" near Long Beach, CA.

Titanic cherub full-sized sculpture slightly dismembered, awaits mold-making.

'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.

Cherub with first coat of silicone rubber. Five more coats to follow.

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.

Barely recognizable the Titanic cherub is now coverd in six coats of rubber.

Barely recognizable

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.

Barely recognizable the Titanic cherub is now coverd in six coats of rubber and half-covered in fiberglass.

Half-plastered

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.

The bronze arm and torch of the Titanic cherub lamp.

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.

Head revealed

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.

Bronze Titanic cherub replica parts are joined together.
Faithful full-sized Bronze Titanic cherub lamp replica for world-class collections and venues
Faithful full-sized Bronze Titanic cherub lamp replica for world-class collections and venues
Faithful full-sized Bronze Titanic cherub lamp replica for world-class collections and venues
Lost/Recreated