Over the past two decades Alan Micklethwaite has established his reputation as one of the country’s finest stone carvers. His diverse portfolio, featuring both contemporary and traditional figurative work, demonstrates an intuitive understanding of materials and techniques. Using this widely acknowledged expertise and a wealth of experience in the restoration of buildings and ancient monuments, Alan Micklethwaite Sculpture offers a bespoke service incorporating all aspects of:
sculpture restoration & architectural conservation
architectural stone carving
consultancy & planning
Both traditional and contemporary subjects are carried out – the links between abstraction and the figurative are inextricable, because ultimately the carver’s journey is one of surface, form, texture, light and shadow.
Each piece of sculpture and carving is designed uniquely for its intended site. There is a dynamic relationship between a sculpture and its environment, which creates a physical and cultural dialogue. The design and development process takes into account the aesthetic and historic demands of the buildings and sites where sculpture is placed and crucially, the aspirations of those who use them.
Careful research and ongoing consultation with the client ensures high quality results. Each piece of work is created to reflect a sensitive understanding of both material and subject whilst articulating the space in which it is placed.
Letter carving is also a speciality. The cut letter in stone has a unique place in the role of written text; it has the authority of the printed word and the intimacy of handwriting, with the mass and timelessness of the material. It is used as a vehicle for monument design in both a contemporary and traditional context.
Many years of experience and study underpin the conservation and restoration work that Alan undertakes. Trained as both a sculptor and a sculpture conservator, he was for many years Head of Sculpture at Lincoln Cathedral where he led some of the world’s most prestigious conservation projects.
These included the restoration of its renowned Romanesque frieze and the re-carving of the Dean’s Eye rose window.
A variety of techniques and methodologies can be employed in this work, ranging from a purist approach to conservation of historic sculpture, to its replication and even the placing of contemporary interpretations into historic environments.
Traditional and state of the art conservation techniques are used to clean, repair and consolidate damaged or unstable historic sculpture. Projects undertaken include:
Restoration of individual sculptures. Pure conservation techniques, including cleaning, consolidation and stabilisation. Larger restoration projects, including repair of architectural features and facade. Full replacement of damaged architectural features. Replacement of missing decorative elements.
Considered and inspirational design is inherent to the sculpture making process. Design is also offered as a stand alone service for large scale projects and also for project visualizations. This can take the form of traditional paper based drawings and plans, 3D computer-aided design files, photo-montage visualizations and scale models and maquettes.
A full setting-out service is also available for precise drawing up of stone architectural features to template stage, ready for fabrication of masonry components. This field of work is backed up by considerable experience and expertise.
A full consultancy service is available for advice and planning of conservation, restoration and sculptural based design projects. This ranges from technical advice and written reports for the conservation of stone artifacts for museums, to full specifications, costings and scheduling for larger scale architectural restoration projects. All recommendations arising from a consultation are designed to provide best quality and value in terms of any work specified; an ethical approach of minimal essential intervention is always regarded as best practice for both sensitive conservation projects and new design alike.
Few decorative crafts can claim to be more ancient than stone carving, with the earliest carved objects being dated well into prehistory. The greatest monuments to human civilization, from the temples of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt to the great cathedrals of Medieval Europe, are richly ornamented with decorative relief and sculpture carved in stone.
Alan Micklethwaite introduces the reader to the techniques and methodology of restoration stone carving, from simple relief to complex sculpture in the round, set against a sound conservation philosophy.
The book provides a thorough understanding of stone as a material and describes its use in sculpture and the agents of its decay, as well as the method by which disfigured carvings can be forensically reconstructed, resulting in the re-emergence of beautifully carved historic architectural sculpture. Intended as a detailed introduction to restoration stone carving, the book is aimed at those who are learning to carve stone or have an interest in pursuing a career in the conservation of stone sculpture and ancient monuments. While having a depth of detail which will allow it to serve as a reference manual for the professional, it will also inspire the beginner and fuel the interest of those who harbour a desire to pursue traditional crafts.