The Hurricane Girls

Standing majestically above the infinity pool, with the bright turquoise Caribbean Sea behind them, are the dramatically beautiful Hurricane Girls.

Created by British sculptor David Williams-Ellis, the sculptures were specially commissioned by the owners with the stunning location in mind.

We caught up with David to find out what his inspiration behind the piece was and the creative process he went through to create it.

How did you know that you wanted to be an artist and how did your career develop?
I come from a deeply artistic and creative family. I started sculpting as a child always messing around and making things whether with sand, plasticine or clay. On leaving school my uncle, Clough Williams-Ellis encouraged me to spend two years carrying on my artistic career in Italy where I worked in a drawing studio, as a woodcarver and eventually trying marble carving at Carrara (of Michelangelo / marble fame); all of which only intensified my love of sculpting. I started exhibiting my work around the world in 1980 and have continued to do so ever since.

Between 1995 and 2013 I was based in the Lake District/Eden Valley. In 2013 I built my current studio and I am now living and working in the Cotswolds.

I have a passion for the human figure and its remarkable three-dimensional form. I realised early on that the only way of feeding this passion was by making fine figurative sculptures.

Last year I designed and sculpted a major public commission of the D-Day Memorial which was unveiled in front of Prime Minister May and President Macron on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in Ver sur Mer, France. This piece fulfilled many of my ambitions and utilised the skills that I had developed, over the years, many of which I also used in the creation of the Hurricane Girls.

What was your inspiration for this piece?
The inspiration, the material and the creative process for this piece are very much linked together. Shortly after I was asked to make a sculpture for Pearns Bay I visited the site, poured over the remarkable plans of the house in order to get a feel of where a sculpture would work and the form it should take.

While I was there I made a number of drawings and realised, with some clarity, that with a backdrop of the Caribbean Sea, the infinity pool and the prevailing winds, that the site needed two figures seemingly in motion – I have always loved the idea of the human figure appearing to fly through the air, with the figure moving contrary to the wind, in an ethereal way.

What was your final material and why did you choose this?
Since ancient times bronze has been the chosen metal for important sculptures due to its longevity and also because it can be coloured (patinated/oxidised) in a variety of colours. The attractive Verdigris, which we chose for the Hurricane Girls works well against the turquoise of the Caribbean Sea.

Was this a special commission and if so, what is the process a client would go through?
The client approached me, having previously seen my work, and asked me to visit the site and come up with some designs for a sculpture that would work in the location. I then made some drawings and created a maquette for their approval and provided a cost for making the sculpture and an estimate on the delivery time.

I began by using the drawings and the maquette as a starting point and then worked directly from life, using life models. It is important to note that my final sculptures are never an exact replica of the maquettes but improved through an evolution of them.

How can others commission or purchase a piece of your art?
If anyone would like to commission any work I suggest they contact me directly and I will talk them through the full process and discuss potential projects with them. Many of my pieces are also available as limited editions and can be seen on my website or Instagram @davidwilliamsellis

You can find more of the art at Pearns Bay House within our gallery page.

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