To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, we are unveiling a miniature war sculpture that will also raise funds for The Royal British Legion.
On Monday 4th August, we will unveil ‘Never Forgotten’ by Nic Joly, a poignant commemorative piece to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. We are hoping to raise thousands of pounds for The Royal British Legion through the sale of miniature limited edition sculptures.
The Royal British Legion is the UK’s leading Armed Forces charity, providing practical, emotional and financial support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families.
Nic Joly, who is known for his miniature pieces of sculptural theatre, has created 1,566 bronze pieces, reflecting the number of days that the First World War was fought. Joly has also included information on the back of every one to explain what happened on that particular day, making each one unique.
Each piece costs £695 and £100 from each sale will be donated to The Royal British Legion.
The artwork depicts two soldiers raising a red poppy – a direct reference to one of the most iconic images of war: the Joe Rosenthal photograph of US soldiers raising the flag on the island of Iwo Jima during the Second World War.
A spokesperson from The Royal British Legion, said:
“We are delighted that Nic has chosen The Royal British Legion to receive a share of the income from his fantastic project.
It is particularly poignant in this, the centenary year of the beginning of World War I, that he has chosen the poppy, the national symbol of remembrance, as the centrepiece of his work. The Royal British Legion was founded in the aftermath of The Great War and has, since 1921, provided support for the Armed Forces Community. Nic’s amazing gesture will help us to continue our work with serving personnel, veterans and Armed Forces families who are in need of help.”
Nic said he was inspired to create the original piece, the idea for which was conceived in 2012, after meeting a 96-year-old war veteran who had flown a glider into Arnhem in the Second World War, just weeks after the D-Day landings:
“In my own small way, I want this piece to remind us that all those who have given their lives in conflicts from The First World War until the present day will be ‘Never Forgotten’.
I was struck by the fact that what we all think of the first war is as distant history, a black and white image based view. The meeting made it all so real, and so relevant. All those that fought and died were just like you and me – they were normal people in a terrible situation but doing incredible things.”
As a gallery we feel privileged to have the sculpture on display for the lovely pole of Edinburgh to come and remember the lost soldiers of the First World War. ‘Never Forgotten’ is an emotive piece and reminds us to remember all those past and present, who have served and given their lives for the country.
Nic Joly juxtaposes his incredibly intricate and delicate pieces of art with satirical subject matter and is never afraid to poke fun at himself or others.
From his studio in Alresford, Hampshire, as his starting point the sculptor uses his incredibly dry sense of humour for the minuscule tableaux and you only have to study his inaugural spring collection to see how light-hearted irreverence permeates each piece.
From the devil in a light bulb to a skier hurtling down a mountain of cocaine snow, Joly gains his inspiration from life and human transgression.
His obsession with creating such tiny masterpieces from intricately painted paper and cotton-wrapped wire came in 2005, when his first son was born.
“I would leave small doors, people and windows around the house for him to find and be intrigued by. I realised these creations were like small pieces of theatre, echoing the world around us. I started to frame them up behind glass, and here we are.”
The former furniture maker, who has spent his entire life whittling, creating and making objects, has created four stunning pieces of limited edition 3-D artwork each carefully hand-finished, painted and framed.
“I have long been fascinated with the miniature, even as a child making small scenarios out of paper and card to get lost with my imagination. This sense of play has never left me; the only thing that has changed are the subjects and observations I now tackle with my imagination and creations”
The figures in Joly’s works are all made from scratch using wire, thread, clay, paper and paint, which he then places into their own scenes. These scenes often incorporate everyday objects, be it a hollowed out light bulb, figures perched on a gun, or carrying the weight of an addiction such as a cigarette.
On The Edge
With the 3-D editions, Joly created the original figures and then through the lost wax process he cast the figures in bronze and painted them. They are then framed by him in the studio.
“It is so important to me that all aspects of my work are in my complete control, so I do everything from the frame making to the finished works. In my own small way I strive to create my own worlds and sculptures – to ask and bring the forefront dilemmas and questions that we all feel and face day to day – as well as highlight the madness that is all around us.”
Two of Joly’s satirical works have been made into giclée photographs for the first time.