The lovely bones of sculptor Wilfred Pritchard

One of the highlights of our recent trip “down south” was a day spent at The Sculpture Park on the outskirts of Farnham in the Surrey Hills. Home to several hundred sculptures for sale (or could it be thousands…who really knows?) dotted around ten acres / four hectares of scenic woodland and lakes, it’s a mind-blowing place to spend a day. I’ll write about it again in future posts, but with Halloween just around the corner I thought I’d focus on Wilfred Pritchard’s lovely bones.

You see, sculptor Wilfred Pritchard appears obsessed with skeletons, and good fun they are too!

“Extraordinary”

A number of Pritchard’s works can be found at The Park, which is probably not surprising as he owns the place under his real name of Eddie Powell! And who can blame him for displaying plenty of his own wares? Born in 1950, the Welshman clearly has a prodigious talent as well as a fertile and somewhat macabre sense of humour.

Cast in bronze, Pritchard’s skeletons are to be seen enjoying themselves in a variety of ways, dancing, performing gymnastic routines, riding a penny-farthing bicycle, playing a tuba and pulling a garden roller. They seem to be having a great time, although the same can’t been said for the poor skeleton whose leg is caught in the jaws of a man-trap!

“Celebration”

Pritchard’s skeletons might be seen as emblematic of Halloween, the time of year when some believe the boundary between this world and the next becomes especially thin. They offer us a benign, stress-free encounter with our own mortality: as they are now, so shall we one day become, living the good life in the after-life.

There’s no great depth of meaning here but the lovely bones are, quite simply, a load of fun. I found it impossible not chuckle at their antics, nor to marvel at the imagination of the man who created them.

Top Left: “Hard Labour”. Top Middle: “Brassed Away”. Top Right: “Man Trap”. Bottom Left: “Back Flip”. Bottom Right: “Acrobats”.

If money were no object, I’d invest in one of Pritchard’s works. I’d display it outside Platypus Towers over Halloween, giving the neighbours both a cheap thrill and a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with a piece of genuine high-quality art. However, these skeletal masterpieces cost anywhere between about £10,000 and £30,000 (USD 12,000 – 35,000) plus tax, so maybe I’ll give it a miss for now. But if my number ever comes up on the lottery, who knows…

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12 comments

  1. Yeah, Another Blogger · October 27

    They are cool. If you ask Pritchard politely, maybe he’ll give you one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laurie Graves · October 27

    Those skeletons are fun and perfect for a Halloween post. I particularly like the skeleton doing a handstand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · October 27

      It’s the first time I’ve ever posted about Halloween, but when we visited the sculpture park just a few days ago and saw Pritchard’s work it seemed like an obvious opportunity for me to break new ground. Glad you enjoyed!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Carol Ann Siciliano · October 27

    So much fun! I’m trying to decide whether I like the bronze or bone color best. By habit, I think of the bronze as “real” art and the bone as Halloween cleverness. This shakes up my brain a bit!

    My favorites: the cheerleader skeletons hoisting their teammate (just look at their faces!!) and the fellow caught in the trap: I love his hand gesture!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · October 28

      Yes, I too was thrown off balance by the “white bronze.” But maybe that’s one of Pritchard’s ambitions, to challenge our preconceptions of what “real art” is all about?

      The facial expressions on the skulls are priceless, the very opposite what we expect. so full of life and joy. For me, it’s that paradox above all else that lifts Pritchard’s work to another level.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carol Ann Siciliano · October 29

        That’s beautifully said about the skeletons’ facial expressions: the paradox of being so full of joy and life. Maybe a reminder for us too!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Platypus Man · October 29

        Yes, certainly something to reflect upon. Perhaps there’s more depth of meaning to Pritchard’s work than I originally thought.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Paddy Tobin · October 27

    He has talent and humour!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · October 28

      Yes, the perfect illustration that great art doesn’t have to be deadly serious and deeply meaningful.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. alison41 · October 31

    Whimsical? yes. Appealing? No. But each to their own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · October 31

      Fair enough. I can see these pieces wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste. But with many hundreds (thousands?) of works on display at this sculpture park everyone will find some that they love, and others that they hate!

      Like

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