This was my first major commission on leaving art college. It was by open competition for recent graduates sponsored by Rixon Matthews Appleyard. I was lucky to get a piece of Cumbrian Slate from a quarry in Milllom. this quarry was usually mined for road stone so the rock face is blasted to fracture the rock into small pieces for crushing. At the time I went with my Father on my 30th birthday to select a boulder from a lot of large pieces. The large boulders were specially blasted for Lancaster City Council who were buying rock to dress new roundabouts in Morecambe. I was able to buy the rock at a bulk ton rate. It cost more to transport it across country to Hull than the boulder cost.
I Believe the stone is metamorphic Ordovician Borrowdale series “slate” a form of volcanic ash that settled and was subjected to immense pressure. As that fell above the water line has a mottled appearance and the stone that was settled below the water line has a stated appearance. The piece of stone was litteraly on the line as it is mottled one side an striped on the other.
I suggested the idea of a head of Neptune for a maritime setting as it was to be sited by Hull Marina outside of the main Hotel by the waterfront. I had a version of this carving that I had displayed in my Degree show. Luckily again the person who was going to buy that piece never came up with the money so I was able to use it at the shortlist stage as a maquette for which I was paid a bout £50 more than I was selling it at originally. The original stone came from a trip to Ireland with a friend and I brought a piece of green granite home from Conemarra it was not the famed Conemara marble. So a lucky beach find, lead to a free carved head of neptune, that was almost sold but in the end was used as the winning proposal for a large sculpture.
I still feel a debt of gratitude to several people for this piece. It would not have happened if people such as Sam Allon hadn’t donated the stone base. Peter Hird cranes for free cranage. Pete and Ian Mitchel for subsidised transport. Mick Pugh Roberts for his help with the carving. Gordon Young and the tern team for the opportunity to get at the stone.
Incidentally I missed the opening because I was broken down on the M62 I had no mobile back in the day to get somebody to collect me on time.