Making the Titanic Cherub
What an enjoyable project sculpting the famous Grand Staircase Titanic Cherub has been! In my 40 years living here at my home, Havencrest Castle, I have sculpted a number of cherubs. Most of them life-sized (about 3 feet tall). My late wife, Adrianne, actually collected cherubs all of her life. By the time we got married in 1975, she already had over 100 cherubs of many sizes and poses. Today there are easily 300 cherubs in the castle. Some of them hold lamps like the Titanic Cherub, some hold flowers in urns on their heads, and there is even a little cherub reclining fast asleep on a blue cushion with gold tassels. I made that one and gave it to Adrianne on her birthday before we got married. Here's a photo of a large wall cherub in our Russian Rococo Library at Havencrest that I sculpted as a symbol for Adrianne, whom I called "The Princess." You can see the princess crown in the cherub's right hand, and a lighted torch in it's left.
The great thing about making the Titanic Cherub is that I was able to sculpt it in clay. This allows greater facility of the form and details. The princess cherub above was sculpted directly in Plaster of Paris in situ . But clay is the usual starting place not only for St George bronze sculptures, but for most artists. Here you see a lot of detail in the clay sculpture of the Titanic Cherub, even though the figure is made at about 1/2 size of the original on the RMS Titanic.
Most Titanic enthusiasts have noticed that there are precious little views of the Titanic Cherub. Well, technically there are none since the only Grand Staircase photos are from her twin sister ship, the RMS Olympic. But even those views are blurry and nearly silhouettes. That makes reconstructing, (or more accurate, recreating) the cherub a bit of a detective challenge...and fun! Only the base has been recovered and brought to the surface so that is what I started with. By replicating the base, and the position of the feet, I had a good foundation to build on along with the photos.
Best of all, there is a cherub at the Palace of Versailles that was most decidedly the prototype for the Titanic/Olympic cherubs. It stands at a corner of one of the huge garden reflecting pools with it's triplet brothers. There's more here.
Using that cherub as a reference in combination with the ship's Grand Staircase photos was enormously helpful.
He's at the bronze foundry now. I'll provide updates on that "ages old" lost wax process in a future blog. If you sign up for email notices you'll never miss news and developments on our Titanic replicas. Thanks for reading this far!