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Gallery 3 > Special Feature Galleries > Tommy 1101, Seaham Harbour, County Durham
“Tommy” was the vision of local artist Ray Lonsdale and lovingly produced over a 5 month period. Made for corten steel, “Tommy” will weather over time to produce a weatherproof rust. The 9 1/2 foot statue of a WW1 soldier is sat at rest at the end of the first world war, contemplating the horrors that unfolded during that time. The artist has truly encapsulated the emotion in his stance and on his face at the very moment when the war ended.
When his sculpture reflecting the sheer horror of World War One was lowered onto a seafront just a few miles from his hometown, Ray Lonsdale didn’t expect it to receive the welcome it did. “I was surprised by the level of support 1101 got,” said Ray. “I’ve had a positive reaction to a lot of my work but not by as many people as this. The whole town has pulled together to put money in the buckets and raise cash to keep it here. That is a new experience.”
“I like people to look at it and appreciate it and appreciate the work that’s gone into it. I also like them to look deeper into it and find the story behind it.”
“Previously I would make seats, bins and railings. I had to get used to people buying my work for the way it looked rather than for its functional purpose.
“It felt strange at first. I realised that people were having a positive reaction to my work and that’s something I got used to, which was nice.”
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