Perhaps the greatest strength of internationally renowned sculptor David Williams-Ellis is his ability to transform space. His bespoke bronzes leap, stretch and dance in gardens and landscapes, rural and urban, around the world, electrifying their surroundings with their vitality.
Williams-Ellis has sculpted mermaids to emerge from ponds and lakes, wood nymphs (first picture) to leap outside country manors, Egyptian-inspired figures to surround swimming pools (second picture), classical nude female forms (third picture) to grace gardens and even an imposing Nubian woman holding two birds aloft for a grouse moor. For interiors, he sculpts figures small enough for a desk or bookshelf and has recently begun working with glass and silver, creating a sinuous silver salmon for a client’s dining table in a English shooting/fishing lodge. He also sculpts busts and life-size portraits. Prices start at £14,000 for a portrait bust or from £28,000 for a specially commissioned bronze.
Clients come from all over the world, from Milan, Mustique and Mykonos to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. In Britain, private clients include the Duke of Roxburghe, the Duchess of Abercorn, Bryan Ferry and Alex Thursby, CEO of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. His work also humanises corporate spaces – his Eagle stands in the courtyard of Hoare’s Bank, The Guardians preside over Marshall Wace’s headquarters in the Adelphi building near Strand, while Watcher towers over the glass and concrete atrium of Swires’ Oxford House in Hong Kong. Leapers are silhouetted against the dramatic skyline of the IFC building in Pudong, Shanghai. “Big office blocks, while being architecturally adventurous, can often feel sterile places in which to work,” says Williams-Ellis. “A sculpture can make the people who go in and out of a building every day smile, and feel a sense of personal connection to an otherwise anonymous office environment.”
Williams-Ellis’s artistic heritage is rooted in Wales. His great uncle was the architect Clough Williams-Ellis, who created the Italianate village of Portmeirion in north Wales and his sister, Bronwyn, who lives in Wales, is a renowned ceramicist. Today Williams-Ellis works from a studio at his home in Cumbria, on the edge of an escarpment overlooking a valley, which tumbles away to the hills beyond. It’s a beautiful, wild setting for his sculpture: “I am drawn to the unpredictable, sometimes harsh weather, and its effect on this rugged landscape and the people in it – I wanted to explore the relationship between the elements and us,” says Williams-Ellis. It’s why his bronzes, despite their beauty and drama, blend so harmoniously with the environments he creates them for.