We had an exceptional meeting on the 6th May at Robert Leggat’s foundry near Plettenberg Bay. For many of us it was the first time that we’ve seen how bronze is prepared for casting, how the pouring is done in the ceramic molds and finally the knocking off of the ceramic molds to unveil the bronze castings.
Robert Leggat’s creativity is inspiring; he has the ability to see art in material that the man in the street will regard as junk. He created an awe inspiring sculpture of a horse from old shredded tyres that he collected from roadsides, ‘reclaimed’ animal snares were used for the beautiful leopard sculpture that graces the lawn near his studio. His bronze birds and wildlife sculptures grace many corporate buildings and private collections.
Robert Leggat’s attention to detail is exceptional and the ability to capture the essence of his subject involves long hours observing, drawing and sketching from life plus the use of taxidermic examples borrowed from collections and museums. This enables him to produce anatomically correct pieces of great sensitivity with realistic depiction of textures and natural forms. His enquiring mind coupled with a natural inquisitiveness, inventiveness and a sense of fun gives his work uniqueness not often found in the bronze medium.
In 2006 Robert started his own foundry “Bronze Fields Foundry” on a smallholding on the outskirts of Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape. It must be emphasised that he does not delegate any of the complicated processes involved in creating a bronze and is personally involved from the start to the finish – the drawing; creating a maquette; building an armature which is the internal framework to support the sculpture; casting the sculpture using the lost wax method (cire perdu) and finally, the patination. Robert works in various mediums, combining bronze, silver and stainless steel with great skill. He often incorporates semi-precious stones and uses diverse mediums for the base of his sculptures.
We were indeed very privileged to witness such talent in action. Thank you, Robbie!