Laurence Edwards

Laurence Edwards is a British sculptor best known for experimenting with a lost wax casting process to creat Bronze statues. Edwards is represented by the gallery Messums Wiltshire.

Laurence Edwards
Laurence Edwards.jpg
EducationRoyal College of Art
Notable workYoxman, A Rich Seam


Edwards began his training at Lowestoft Art College before going to Canterbury College of Art, a sculpture department heavily involved in steel formalism where Antony Caro was a frequent visiting tutor. He later attended a post-graduate course at the Royal College of Art, where he studied bronze casting and sculpture. Edwards credits Tissa Ranasinghe as a crucial influence, who helped to break down the mental process of his work, resulting in a fusion of process and the creative act. Eduardo Paollozzi, whose work he cast, would also prove influential.

After being awarded a Henry Moore bursary and the Angeloni Prize for Bronze Casting. He travelled India and Nepal studying traditional casting techniques with an Intach travelling scholarship. The knowledge gleaned allowed him to establish his first foundry and studio in 1990 at Clock House in Bruisyard. In 1992, he established Yew Tree Farm Studios, in Laxfield, an artistic community as well as a foundry. It was here amongst other initiatives that he cofounded the US-UK Iron pour exchange and residency program with Professor Coral Lambert of the National casting institute Alfred University, New York State

In 2002 'Yew Tree' evolved into 'Butley Mills Studios' set in the marshlands of the Butley Creek. Here an artist community grew around a thriving bronze foundry of which, Keir Smith, Sir Christopher Le Brun, Brian Taylor, were notable members.

In 2006, he won the Royal Society of Portrait Sculpture Award for his work Grin and Bare and became an Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 2012.[1][2] His current studio and foundry are in Halesworth, Suffolk.

Laurence Edwards has exhibited in Australia since 2009 and has had two exhibitions alongside Messums Wiltshire at the Mary Place Gallery.[3][4] He is currently helped by a dedicated team of around ten people running two studios, one with a large scale foundry in Halesworth, and the other in a converted Fire Station in Saxmundham, Suffolk.

Laurence Edwards' works recently part of an art exhibition at the new EA exhibition hosted at Hedingham Castle in July 2021. His work which included 8 ft tall sculptures were placed in the grounds of Hedingham Castle.[5]

In November 2019, a site specific sculpture was unveiled by Edwards for the Sainsbury Centre in Norfolk called Man of Stones. The process was documented in film by Bill Jackson.[6] Edwards' artistic process was filmed over a period of nine months and witnessed the journey of wax to bronze.[7] In 2015, Edward's Crouching Man was exhibited alongside more than 100 other artworks in annual exhibition on the coastline between Bondi and Tamarama.[8]

Phil Cairney's film 'A Thousand Tides' chronicled the making and placement of a figure left to slowly sink in the estuarine mud flats of the Butley creek on the east coast. This film is complemented by another made by Aldeburgh films, called 'The Creek Men'  it chronicles the voyage of three 8 ft bronze giants, on a raft up the river Alde to the Aldeburgh Festival at Snape in 2008.

Sculpting methodEdit

Edwards begins by creating a human form from clay over a metal armature, which is then worked and expressed.[9] As the clay hardens, the sculpture is aggressively modelled and impregnated with organic materials. When the clay cracks it is pinned and repaired with branches, rope and string, before being bound in wet rags to create living surfaces.

He has used the same type of clay for many years, crushing old sculptures and rejuvenating the clay. Thus the material has a history, indicators of old work will appear as splinters, string and become part of an increasing material form with has a marshy odour. Due to the rotting material within, fungi and grasses will often sprout from the surfaces at the right time of year, and the occasional toad has been known creep from under a crevice.

Once these figures are molded, Edwards rebuilds them in wax and sets about interrogating the surfaces with flames and hot knives, burning more organic material into the surface and reinforcing them with sticks and binding with string, preventing the delicate forms from collapse. This results in a vulnerability which often contradicts the apparent strength of the bronze.

Interaction with landscapeEdit

In 2008, Edwards created three 8ft bronze figures inspired by the marshes around his studio at the time. These were exhibited at the Aldeburgh Festival, after a voyage on a raft along the river Alde.[10] The writer Robert Macfarlane comments on his first meeting with the figures, "I came over time to see the Creek Men not as eldritch paramilitaries set on vengeance, but as more ethically neutral emanations of the Suffolk terrain itself. [...] Chronic and chthonic, they were indigenes – and there was an aspect of tolerance to their presence, as well as of threat."[11]

In 2017, the Police and Coastguard were called to "body in the water". It quickly transpired that it was Edwards' work A Thousand Tides which had been in the Butley Creek for almost a year. The figure was designed to only been seen at low tide. However, it had "stayed on the surface longer than it should." Edwards further remarked that "I've always been a bit worried that a helicopter would spot it and want to rescue it."[12]

Doncaster miners sculptureEdit

In 2018, Edwards was commissioned by Doncaster Council to create a sculpture that celebrates the lives of those who worked in the collieries around Doncaster. The project was funded with donations from the community through a crowdfunding campaign. 'A Rich Seam' was unveiled in Print Office Street in 2021.[13]

The sculpture consists of 40 portraits of the former miners, who told their stories while being sculpted. These sessions were filmed by Doncaster College for their online archive.[14] In February 2021, A Rich Seam was installed in the Doncaster city centre.[15] The bronze faces sit in the handmade crevices of two 20 tonne pieces of York Stone with a miner between them.[16]

Yox Man

Robert Macfarlane said that "in this unique project, Laurence Edwards has created a new kind of stone book: an extraordinary double-archive – told in bronze and told in story – of a generation and a community that is now close to disappearing." The sculpture now stands outside the Frenchgate Centre to show how important mining is to Doncaster. Mayor Ros Jones said that "the iconic piece of art will commemorate our past but also look forward to the future."[17] Keith Marshall, who had been a miner at the Brodsworth Coillery since he was 15, said that "this will be something that my grandchildren can take their grandchildren to, and learn our history."[18]


In 2021, Edwards completed a 26ft sculpture named Yoxman, which stands next to the A12 in Suffolk.[19] Russell Pearce of Yoxford Parish Council said that "to have that standing in the village, and be able to see it from the A12, it's a great thing for Yoxford and will really help the economy. It will really stand out, and people will want to stop and have a look around here."[20]

Weighing 8 tonnes, and cast at Edwards' foundry under the supervision of foundry manager Tom Crompton, it is one of the largest bronze sculptures to be cast in the UK in recent years. He is part tree, cove, cliff and figure. Organic matter was incorporated into the casting process. Edward's used leaves, branches, stone and rope as he moulded the form together.[21] Edward's described the work as "a Green Man for our age' and that the work is "a lightning rod for loads of issues about ecology and what we are doing to this planet,".[22] The sculpture stands on land that is part of the Wilderness Reserve, a private 8000 acre estate that has been assembled by Jon Hunt since 1995.


  1. ^ "". Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  2. ^ McDowall, Carolyn. "British Sculptor Laurence Edwards – New Works in Australia". The Culture Concept Circle. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  3. ^ McDowall, Carolyn. "British Sculptor Laurence Edwards – New Works in Australia". The Culture Concept Circle. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  4. ^ " | Subscribe to The Daily Telegraph for exclusive stories". Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  5. ^ Stainthorpe, Sophie (29 July 2021). "Promotion: Head to new festival for music, arts and culture". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Sainsbury Centre | Laurence Edwards Man of Stones film". Sainsbury Centre. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  7. ^ Clarke, Andrew (13 November 2019). "Dramatic work by bronze sculptor Laurence Edwards captured by Suffolk film-maker". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  8. ^ Weeks, Jonny (23 October 2015). "Sculpture by the Sea: Sydney's coastline transformed – in pictures". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Laurence Edwards". Artist Profile. 22 April 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  10. ^ Clarke, Andrew (31 May 2016). "Suffolk sculptor Laurence Edwards says goodbye to Butley with figure in the landscape". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Laurence Edwards: An essay by Robert Macfarlane | Caught by the River | Caught by the River". Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Bronze sculpture reported as 'body in the water'". BBC News. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Doncaster's mining sculpture: A rich seam of inspiration". Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  14. ^ Council, Doncaster. "A mining statue for Doncaster - Doncaster Council". Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Ex-miner's delight as £130,000 memorial arrives in Doncaster after Free Press campaign". Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  16. ^ "laurenceedwards". laurenceedwards. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  17. ^ "A Rich Seam exhibition launches funding bid for a mining statue for Doncaster | Frenchgate Shopping Centre". Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Doncaster's mining sculpture: A rich seam of inspiration". Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  19. ^ Sandalls, Katy (9 October 2021). "Meet the Yoxman: A towering giant of Suffolk's past". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Suffolk: Yoxman sculpture to become landmark off A12". BBC News. 12 October 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  21. ^ Powell, Matt (18 November 2021). "Giant bronze statue 'The Yoxman' arrives next to A12 at Yoxford". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Suffolk: Yoxman sculpture installed as a landmark off A12". BBC News. 18 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.