Winning Clough statue sculptor announced..

I’m delighted to report that the sculptor chosen to take on the mantle of sculpting a legend is Les Johnson.  The pose and bust that Les submitted were my favourites by some distance, so I’m thrilled he’s earned the opportunity to create the sculpture to be unveiled later this year in the centre of Nottingham.  You can click on the picture to see a larger version of it.

Just to clarify, as there seem to have been misunderstandings on the messageboards from when the designs were submitted, the figure is to show the pose, the bust is larger and to show the sculptors ability to capture the likeness.  I can’t wait until it’s finished!  To keep up to date with all things statue-related, then keep an eye on both the local media, here and of course www.brianclough.com.  Here’s the official press-release that goes with the announcement:

International sculptor Les Johnson has been chosen as the artist to create the bronze statue of legendary football manager Brian Clough in Nottingham city centre.

A selection panel including Mr Cloughs wife, Barbara, agreed unanimously that the prestigious commission should be awarded to Mr Johnson. He was one of three artists short- listed after a group of fans raised £70,000 for the project.

Les Johnson, who is based in Hampshire, was also the most popular choice in a public consultation which involved an exhibition at the Council House and views submitted by e-mail to the tribute website www.brianclough.com, the official site of the Brian Clough Statue Fund

The two other short-listed sculptors were Keith Maddison from Northumberland and John McKenna from Ayreshire in Scotland.

Mrs Clough was accompanied at the selection panel meeting by her son Simon and daughter Elizabeth. Her son Nigel had visited the display at the Council House to see the work submitted by the three short-listed artists.

It was a very difficult decision because the submissions by all three sculptors were impressive, said Mrs Clough. Id like to thank all three artists for taking part in the selection process.

I am absolutely delighted that the panel all agreed that Les Johnson should be awarded the commission. There is something very instinctive about his work and I feel confident he can produce a first class statue.

I was very impressed by the likeness of the bust he created – it captures a lot of Brians character. I also liked the pose with Brians hands clasped above his head. It conveys a sense of sharing a celebration with the fans.

Mrs Clough added that she was very pleased about where the statue would be placed, at the junction of King Street and Queen Street. I think the location of the statue is very fitting, being close to the market square and the Council House, the scene of those trophy celebrations.

I would also like to say a special thank you to the volunteers who helped to raise the money for the statue fund. On behalf of all my family I can say we are all very proud.

Mrs Clough said she was also happy to advise Les Johnson on re-creating the facial features on the final statue, as she did for the sculptor Vivien Mallock for the statue of Mr Clough in Middlesbrough.

Les Johnson said he was delighted to have secured the commission. This is a most prestigious project. Brian Clough is such an iconic figure. He was unique and deserves to be commemorated. I am so pleased to be involved in celebrating his life.

Les explained his inspiration for the pose of the statue. It is one of celebration. He is acknowledging the crowd – saying we have done it together. It symbolises his links with the city. Nottingham has done a lot for him and he has done a lot for Nottingham.

Councillor David Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Leisure and Culture, was part of the selection panel. Les Johnsons work was by far the best quality, particularly the animation in the maquette and the finesse of the detail of the eyes in the bust, bringing out that cheekiness.

The success of the statue fund in raising the money for this project has underlined just how loved and admired Brian Clough was. He was made a Freeman of the City and this statue will be a lasting tribute to the achievements of a legend who, along with Robin Hood, is undoubtedly one of the most famous people associated with Nottingham.

So great news – and movement on a project that I’m sure we’re all keen to see come to fruition!  As soon as there’s any news on progress and likely dates for the unveiling, then I will be sure to let you all know!  It’s cheered me up slightly after failing to beat Millwall yesterday, anyway!

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