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Infamous Preston artist strikes bronze with latest sculpture

Posted on - 26th February, 2011 - 12:42pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, History, Nostalgia, Preston News, Recreation

Peter Hodgkinson, the Preston artist who created the city’s famous sculpture of Sir Tom Finney, had his latest piece of work unveiled today – in a pub.

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Forty-five-year-old Hodgkinson has immortalised another North West legend – artist LS Lowry – with a life-sized bronze statue that sits at the bar in Sam’s Chop House, the Manchester inn where Lowry used to drink.

Hodgkinson, who lives in Deepdale, told Blog Preston he had spent a stressful eight months sculpting Lowry, whose paintings of Lancashire’s industrial towns have sold for millions.

He said: “There was a lot of pressure with Sir Tom as it was my first public piece. And sculpting Lowry was the same – people who knew him have got to love it. I’m pleased it’s been received so well.”

Hodgkinson was commissioned a year ago to make the statue, which marks the 35th anniversaryof Lowry’s death, by pub owner Roger Ward.

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Ward discovered that Lowry was a regular at the Chop House, in the city centre, when he worked as a rent collector nearby.

And after seeing a drawing of the Salford-born artist eating Christmas lunch there in the 1970s, Ward decided he wanted a permanent reminder of Lowry’s days as a punter.

Speaking at the Chop House, Hodgkinson said: “The statue has a genuine claim to be here. Lowry drank here and hung out here with other artists.”

Ward said he chose Hodgkinson to create the piece because he had seen ‘The Splash’ – the statue of Sir Tom outside Preston North End’s Deepdale stadium.

“When I met Peter, I knew he would be perfect to immortalise Lowry in this unusual setting,” he said.

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The Preston sculptor started work last winter on a clay model, which was then cast in bronze and refined at the Zahra Modern Art foundry in Essex.

Hodgkinson said it was a demanding task to design the 300kg statue, which was transported to Manchester on Monday.
“Every piece of work is unique, but you try to foresee any problems.”

“It was a constant job. For eight months you’re working at it. And when you’re not physicallyworking, you’re constantly thinking about it.

“I’m pleased with it, but it’s not 100 per cent. You always want it to be better.”

The statue of Sir Tom, unveiled in 2004, stands boldly in front of Deepdale, but Hodgkinson likes the idea of Lowry seated in a less conspicuous setting.

“It’s accessible in the pub. You can sit down and have a drink and a chat with him!”

“It is great to be getting work outside of my own town. Manchester has a lot of visitors and it’s been fantastic to be involved with this project.”

And Hodgkinson said sculpting Lowry had turned him into a huge fan of the painter’s work.

“Lowry did not make me become an artist. He never inspired me in that way. But I’ve seen his portfolio during the last 12 months and have learnt to really admire him. He deserves greater recognition.”

Hodgkinson used pictures by photographer Sefton Samuels to inspire the statue’s design. His prints will form an exhibition alongside the sculpture.

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