The life-sized Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sculptures by Tanya Russell, ARBS. Limited edition, from the ‘Affection’ range. Handmade in England.
Material: either Bronze Resin or Foundry Bronze
Bronze Resin, Edition 25: Price £1,550. Includes UK delivery, (excludes international delivery).
Foundry Bronze, Edition 25: Price £3,850. Includes UK delivery, (excludes international delivery).
To purchase this sculpture please contact the artist. As this artwork is handmade colour can vary slightly.
Bronze Resin (known also as Cold Cast Bronze) is made from a polyester epoxy resin with real bronze powder mixed into the surface layer. The final product is patinated (a term that describes the reaction of chemicals with the bronze powder in the surface) to give it a very similar colour to foundry bronze.
Foundry Bronze is made from molten metal using the lost wax method. Bronze metal is a blend of copper and tin along with other metals to give different characteristics to the final product.
Both forms begin as a clay or wax sculpture, from which a mould is taken, but Foundry Bronze casting is a costly and time-consuming process. Cold Casting allows for faster production and a more affordable sculpture.
The intention and process behind the original Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sculptures
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sculptures were modelled on Nora, an older, sweet and gentle spaniel, and Martha, an energetic younger one. They were commissioned in 2016. I visited Nora and Martha and took lots of photographs of them in a variety of poses, watching their expressions and mannerisms, and hearing about the way they behaved at home with their family. After that, with their owners, I decided which pose would suit them best, then proceeded to model Nora and Martha in clay.
Once I’d sculpted the two dogs a rubber mould was taken of each, with ‘keys’ placed in the rubber to ensure proper positioning. Then a shell of fibreglass was applied, to protect the moulds and support them during the casting process.
Both Nora and Martha were commissioned in Foundry Bronze and were cast at Art of a Fine Nature Foundry in Somerset, using the lost wax method. This involves painting wax into the mould and rotating it to achieve an even coating. The wax is inspected and worked (or ‘chased’) until the seam lines are removed and the artwork is ready to be cast in bronze metal. Wax rods (‘sprues’) are attached along with a cup, into which the molten bronze will eventually be poured.
The wax will then be covered with a ceramic shell by dipping it into a liquid binder solution (called ‘slurry) and applying a fine silica sand. Several coats are applied and allowed to dry between coatings. The shell is then placed in an oven and the wax melts out. The hollow shell is now inspected for cracking.
Bronze ingots are now heated to a high temperature, then the molten bronze is poured into the hollow ceramic shell and allowed to cool and solidify. The ceramic shell is removed (or ‘devested’), and sometimes a water or sand blaster will be used to remove shell from any intricate detailing.
Usually larger sculptures will have been sectioned into multiple pieces. These are now carefully reassembled and welded together. Care is taken to align them correctly and repair any surface defects. The sculpture is then polished to remove any sign of welding and prepare the bronze for colouring.
The finished colour (the ‘patina’) is created using a variety of different chemicals, depending on how I want the finished artwork to look. Finally, the sculpture is sealed with wax or lacquer to protect the finish.