The Boy and the Falcon

T he life size bronze of The Boy and the Falcon came from a private commission. My client had previously commissioned a bronze portrait, and at the death of her father she wanted to use her inheritance money to buy something that would endure, to place in her garden. I designed a maquette, which is a small figure later to be scaled up. She was enthusiastic and I began the work. Because the boy is reaching up to catch the falcon on his wrist, it would have meant my modelling the bird whilst standing on a ladder or platform; so I modelled them separately. After three months of work, both the falcon and the boy were completed and it was time to unite them. As I did so, I realised that, for me, the figure I had created of the boy was not powerful enough to catch the impact of this fabulous bird. I realised with horror that I had to remodel the entire figure of the boy. I dismantled the figure and at the end of the day I was staring at an empty space in my studio where the boy had stood. I remember reading that Rodin would often say that if something wasn’t working or it was ‘tired’ you had to knock it on the floor! I often quoted it to my students when they were disheartened by their overworked piece, telling them that they had learned what they needed to learn, and even though they may have spent hours on a piece, to let it go, begin again and it would re emerge alive and complete in a fraction of the time. But of course it takes courage to do that. So here was I having to practise what I had preached. But, miraculously, I found a model very quickly and within a week the sculpture of the boy had, thankfully, reappeared. So Rodin was right!

In the sculpture the young boy is catching the fire and spirit of a falcon, which is the most agile and keen of all the avian hunters. In Egyptian times the falcon was a symbol of the rising sun. The sculpture was created at the time of the new millenium, and for me the boy is reaching out to catch the power and energy of a new dawn.

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