Stigwood Art back on the Isle of Wight, but there’s still more to do

The recovery of the Stigwood art has been entirely funded from community crowdfunding and will be a great asset to East Cowes’s community regeneration, but there is still more to do before the work is complete.

Karl Love and David Hill with the Stigwood sculpture

The campaign to see the return to East Cowes of the Stigwood Art that once graced the gardens of Barton Manor has moved on since OnTheWight’s report in December.

The campaign, being led by David Hill and his partner, Isle of Wight councillor for East Cowes, Karl Love, this week saw the return of the commanding sculpture to the Isle of Wight.

Accompanied by Karl and David, the sculpture carved into the remains of a Monterrey cypress tree made its way back to the Island.

Sculpture has had “several close calls”
Karl told OnTheWight,

“David and I were inspired to recover the Art after listening to its story from the new owners of Barton Manor, Alex and Dawn Haig-Thomas.

“Its recovery has been entirely funded from community crowdfunding and it’s going to be a great asset to our town’s community regeneration.

“We expect it will take quite a few months to restore and we will need to find the funding to create a base and setting for it to be located in.”

The Stigwood Sculpture

He went on to say,

“We want to do this right and create a fitting tribute to its creators and tell another small part of East Cowes’ heritage story. Our past is also a part of our future.

“Sadly we were not able to return it in one piece and it’s had several close calls. The previous owned threatened to cut it up for firewood and the Garden Centre had at one time thought they might have to break it up as they needed the space.”

Dedicated efforts
He finished by saying,

“It’s David Hill’s speedy and hard work that has secured this work for the town.

“I’m doing all I can to support him and enable interesting projects to happen for our town and the Isle of Wight.

“I’m sure everyone will enjoy the finished item when it’s restored.”

What is the ‘Stigwood sculpture’?
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 Monterrey cypress tree.

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

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.”

Show your support
If you would like to help see the restoration 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

Thursday, 14th March, 2019 10:25am



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

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What an interesting video explaining how the sculpture was created.