Sculpture Journal

Monuments, memory and the maritime: Michael Sandle interviewed

Sculpture Journal (2015), 24, (2), 283–293.

Abstract

The Sources & Documents section has three elements: a translation of a little-known article, a reproduction of drawings from a museum archive and an interview with a living sculptor. The translation considers the work and career of the Canadian sculptor François Baillairgé (1759–1830), who worked as an architect and wood carver, but also produced decorative schemes for ships during a period of increasing production in Canadian ship-building. The article was originally published in French in the Paris-based maritime history journal Neptunia in 1984, by Jean Belisle, now Emeritus Professor of Art History at Concordia University, Montreal. It examines Baillairgé’s designs for two specific ships, the Royal Edward and the Earl of Moira, arguing that the sculptor’s iconographic schemes reflect the political concerns of the period, in particular the relationship between British North America (the Canadian colonies) and their newly independent American neighbours.

The second part comprises two rare watercolour designs by Baillairgé for the Royal Edward, reproduced in black and white in the original source, but here shown in colour, taken from the collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Quebec.

The third section is an interview with the sculptor Michael Sandle (b. 1936), focusing on his use of maritime imagery and his memorials on maritime themes. The interview includes discussions of Sandle’s interest in the iconography of submarines, rafts and sea burial, and his commissions for memorials including his Malta Siege Memorial (1989–93), his project for the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization in London (2001) and his memorial to lifeboatmen in Douglas (2002). It also includes the sculptor’s recollections of his childhood on the Isle of Man, and his recent interest in memorializing the tragedies of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

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Author details

Kelly, Julia