David Williams-Ellis | A life in sculpture.
David Williams-Ellis is one of the world’s leading figurative sculptors. His prestigious commissions, both private and public, have brought him international acclaim. Best known for his representations of the human form, David works primarily in clay before casting in bronze, silver or glass. His figures range in size – large enough to add drama to a landscape or small enough to look beautiful on a desk or to be a table centrepiece.
Inspired by the romanticism of Rodin and Bourdelle, David’s sculpture is noted for its classical balance and poise and above all for a sense of movement and vitality captured within the form. It’s the powerful energy of David’s work that thrusts its way beyond the ornamental and gives it its definitive contemporary edge.
David has a distinguished artistic pedigree. His great uncle was Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect who created the Italianate village of Portmeiron in North Wales. His parents were talented amateur artists and his sister, Bronwyn, is a globally renowned ceramicist.
David started sculpting as a child and made his first sale, his A Level plaster figure, before he left school. He attributes his early career start to a helpful teacher who “was a painter by practice but a sculptor by inclination”. On leaving school, David sought out a classical training in Florence under the legendary octogenarian drawing teacher, Nerina Simi. From there he went on to be an apprentice wood carver and then joined a community of marble carvers in Pietresanta beneath the Carrara Mountains. It was a chance encounter with a girl sitting on a pillar that planted the seed of inspiration that would later flower into his signature style. David soon realised that the restrictions of carving were not for him and he returned to London to attend the Sir John Cass School of Art.
A group show cemented David’s reputation and soon he was travelling round Britain sculpting commissioned portraits. Exhibitions at the Bruton Gallery, Agnews, Sladmore and Cadogan Contemporary followed. Today his work is in private collections all over the world and can be seen dominating public spaces and flagship buildings from Scone Palace in Perthshire to the IFC Building in Shanghai. He continues to sculpt portrait busts with clients as diverse as the Duchess of Abercorn and Bryan Ferry’s sons.
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