Daily Archives: April 15, 2012

A Mystery Hand


A hand – Bronze

The sculpture stands in the grounds of the Department of Education, in front of Tyrone House in Marlborough Street, Dublin.

Well trimmed nails! 😉

Despite much searching I was unsuccessful in finding the name of the sculptor or the story behind the piece. I wonder if any of you can throw light on it for me?

Since I was unsuccessful in finding any details of the Hand sculpture I have decided to give you some background to the commissioning process for a piece of sculpture.

Usually when a potential client expresses an interest in commissioning a work they contact the artist directly with their proposal. If for example they want a life size figure in bronze as the finished work, then the procedure would be as follows:

  • Furnish the artist with the most important details of the subject to be sculpted, photographs, descriptions etc.
  • The artist draws designs for the client based on the material given.
  • The client approves of a drawing to be developed in three dimensions for which a fee is paid to the artist for conceptual development.
  • Once the client is contented with all the views of the three dimensional model, it is then enlarged to the full scale in clay on the payment of the first of three equal payments to be agreed on at the start.
  • When the client is happy with the enlarged sculpture, they will then pay the second instalment of the fee before a mould can be made of the work so that it can be cast in bronze.
  • Once it is cast in bronze and finished to the clients specifications, it will then be shipped and installed on site after which the final third is paid.

A popular procedure used for most work is the Lost Wax Method, which dates back with little change to the Ancient Greeks and beyond.

It starts off with the original artwork in clay on which a rubber mould is applied with elevated points that register in the plaster or fibreglass ridged jacket, which covers it. The rubber holds the impression of the surface and undercuts while the plaster or fibreglass holds the form.

Once the mould has been made and taken off the clay master, a layer of molten wax is applied to the inner surface of the rubber to replicate the detail of the original. Once this is at a sufficient thickness (5-7mm), it is then covered in a ceramic shell by dipping it in a ceramic mix and then fired in a kiln to melt out the wax and solidify the ceramic mould. While the said mould is still hot it is buried in sand for support and molten bronze is poured into the vacuum where the wax used to be. Once the metal solidifies as it cools, it is possible to smash off the ceramic mould and weld the bronze pieces back together for the complete work to be realized.

The piece is then ready to be shipped and installed an  the pre-arranged site.