End game in sight
For Nigel, the sculpture he conceptualised and which was brought to life by his team, with keen involvement from Dr B, has no single element more important than another.
“It’s about all the elements of Ashbourne’s Shrovetide. Our sculpture defines the time of year, the story of the day, the passion of the players and the actual ball that was played.“
Due to be completed in 2019, the Shrovetide sculpture will have taken two and a half years to complete and has involved a close-knit team of six including a cabinet maker, a French polisher, artists, marquetry artist, a carver and Nigel.
Nigel said: “It’s phenomenal, words can’t describe what it feels like to get a commission like this, which is local and had few boundaries. It was a fantastic brief. And everyone here at Wheathills feels they have contributed not just to recording and celebrating local history but creating a piece of history themselves.
Although Dr B is yet to see the piece fully assembled he is delighted with the results and the artistry.
He said: “The skill in this piece is in Nigel’s interpretation of what we wanted to achieve, taking all of the elements into consideration and getting it right. You have to live and breath Shrovetide to understand it and if I had not known Nigel this piece would not have happened because no one else understands it like Nigel. He’s been going to the Shrovetide game all of his life. The piece is without doubt a vibrant representation of the Shrovetide game. I wanted the essence of the game captured and Nigel has faultlessly delivered it. He’s a genius!”
The Shrovetide sculpture will be permanently located in a Derbyshire house owned by Dr B and is destined to stay in the Burston family for generations but the museum standard sculpture will, at intervals, be put on public display in Ashbourne.
Early plans are being laid by Dr B to have a public un-veiling of the finished piece in the town. Members of the community will be welcomed along with the Shrovetide committee and the players whose faces are represented in marquetry and recorded for posterity on the memory box.