The Birmingham Alliance have commissioned a twice-life size
bronze Bull sculpture for the new Bullring Birmingham. At approximately 4.5 metres in length and
about 6.5 tonnes, it will be one of the largest bronze animal
sculptures in the country. The Birmingham Alliance, a partnership
of Hammerson plc, Land Securities plc and Henderson Global Investors
Ltd, are building the £500 million shopping centre on the site
of the old Bullring, in the heart of Birmingham, Britain's second
The new Bullring will combine stunning architecture with a
series of covered streets on three levels. The 26 acre development
will have 132 shop units, making it Europe's largest urban retail
regeneration project this decade on its completion in September
The sculpture is to be a focal point and symbol of the area.
The Bull has a special place within our collective memory. It
has often been used alongside the lion as an animal worthy of
devotion and respect that has featured as a focal point and
gateway emblem throughout history.
The commission objective is for the sculpture to reflect the
characteristics that are synonymous with the Bull: courage,
strength, potency, dynamism, movement, determination, nobility,
pride, trade and the market place. A worthy symbol and icon
of civic pride and spirit. The sculpture is to be sited at the
newly created Rotunda Square (still to be named officially)
at the junction of New Street and High Street.
The design is based on the Hereford Bull with its association
and historical links to Birmingham. Nowadays the bull tends
to appear as a static creature. One only sees it on the move
when being teased or now and again, enjoying the freedom of
an open field. "It was not my intention to create a frightening
bull, but a powerful, symbolic sculpture that people of all
ages would appreciate, gather around, meet at, touch, talk about
and remember." After many sketches, the most suitable was selected
for developing a clay model on an armature. Here the three-dimensional
qualities can be visualised, on a small scale, to enhance movement.
Clay is an ideal medium for flexibility.
Once the first maquette encompassed all the necessary qualities,
it was enlarged in plaster and this second maquette, as shown
in these pictures, makes it easier to visualise the sculpture
on a much larger scale.
Enlarging the sculpture will take between
twelve and sixteen weeks. The sculpture will then be cast into
bronze taking about twenty-four to twenty-eight weeks. Bronze
is ideally suited to interaction with the public, its sensuality
encouraging people to touch it, its strength suitable to combat
vandalism better than any other material. The alloy of bronze
(LG2) is approximately 85% copper, 5% tin, 5% lead and 5% zinc.
The surface will be smooth and the patina will be a warm reddish
brown. In addition to the inherent strength of the bronze will
be an internal armature of stainless steel. This will pass down
each foot onto a sub-frame also of stainless-steel, a set distance
below the paving. The groundwork is then made up to the level
of the hooves