Fundraiser for return of Norman Gaches ‘Stigwood art’ to the Isle of Wight launched

A campaign has been launched to fund the return of a large-scale wood carving that left the Island when music and film producer, Robert Stigwood, moved to Ascot. It’s hoped the sculpture can be returned to East Cowes for all to enjoy.

norman gache carving dionysis

Isle of Wight councillor for East Cowes, Karl Love and his partner, David Hill have launched a campaign to see the return to East Cowes of the ‘Stigwood art’ that once graced the gardens of Barton Manor.

Following the great storm of 1987, the then-owner of Barton Manor, music and film producer Robert Stigwood, commissioned a wood carver to create a piece of art from the remains of a Monterey cypress tree.

Dionysus, Ariadne and Stigwood as Zeus
Isle of Wight wood carver, Norman Gaches, was given free rein to design the carving. He selected Dionysus, the greek god of wine, which Norman said was particularly appropriate because of Barton Manor’s vineyards. Alongside Dionysus stands Ariadne, a figure of Zeus (portrayed as Robert Stigwood) and a goat.

Click on image to see larger version
Robert Stigwoods carving by Norman Gaches

This project was the first time that Norman had carved a tree that was still rooted into the ground and he went on to create many other carvings on the estate. A exhibition earlier this year at Quay Arts showed paintings, sketches and tools used by Norman to give an insight into the conception and development of his wooden wonders.

Love: Legacy must be enjoyed and the story told
When Robert Stigwood left the Island, the carving went with him, but has remained at an Ascot garden centre ever since.

Karl explained,

“Many years ago I saw Madonna jogging on East Cowes Seafront roughly about the time that Robert Stigwood, former owner of Barton Manor, was producing the Film Evita. It is documented that she and many other celebrities of the day visited Barton Manor. Our town has such a great world profile that we need to ensure the legacy is documented, enjoyed and the story told.”

He told OnTheWight that the custodians of the artwork are willing to allow it to come back to the Island, but money is needed for the transportation, new mountings and restoration work.

Permissions obtained
Karl told OnTheWight,

“David and I traveled off the Island and obtained permission to recover the wood sculptures created by Norman Gaches, which we seek to return home to our Island to be located somewhere in our town as an Art exhibit for all to enjoy and see.

“This is a local community-driven project celebrating our town’s rich heritage and there are community residents to be thanked for their inspiration in helping to create this opportunity to recovery of the art.”

Hill: ” Town of royal and historic footsteps”
David said,

“Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Jesus Christ Superstar are all productions many of us are familiar with produced by Music Producer Robert Stigwood former resident of Barton Manor Near East Cowes.

“Please support us in returning his Art created by celebrated local sculpture Norman Gaches for all to enjoy and be displayed in our Historic Town, East Cowes – A Town of Royal and Historic Footsteps.”

Show your support
If you would like to help see the return of the Stigwood sculptures, you can make a donation via Go Fund Me.

This short documentary about Norman Gaches’ carving at Barton Manor, gets up close to the carving so you can really see the beauty of the piece

Tuesday, 4th December, 2018 9:19am



Filed under: East Cowes, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Art, Isle of Wight News, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave your Reply

5 Comments on "Fundraiser for return of Norman Gaches ‘Stigwood art’ to the Isle of Wight launched"

newest oldest most voted
Email updates?

I think this would be great to see back on the island. Norman Gaches was world reknown and we need to remember our island residents. How much is needed to transport the carving back to the island? Have you contacted his family?

Karl has indeed suffered life threatening illness himself so is no stranger to the awful journeys mentioned in these comments. Although I share concerns about spending money on arty items he cannot be accused of not standing up for the people of East Cowes in a way no other councillor has. Indeed the Conservatives have sidelined him from a committee recently as he is seen as an… Read more »
Surely there are more pressing needs in East Cowes than this…? Cllr Love has lambasted the Conservative Council, (not that political persuasion has anything to do with it), regarding their need to balance the books, making very difficult decisions and stretching funding available as much as is possible in difficult and demanding times. Indeed he said of cross Solent travel, ““It’s time for our Island people to… Read more »

You are so sympathetic to the problems faced by islanders who have to be treated on the mainland that your comment after the Karl Love article was this:

“Oh for goodness sake – move off the island then”
Overflowing with compassion…

Sympathy is destructive – empathy is what is required and whilst I hold great empathy for anyone who has experienced illness, the problems of needing to be treated on the mainland are no more complex than individuals who, unwell and frail and live on the mainland, having to travel some distances and on public transport to get to a their treatment centre, be that hospital or clinic.… Read more »