INTRODUCING HAMISH MACKIE

“You should be able to look wildlife sculpture in the eye and see life.” (HM)

British wildlife sculptor Hamish Mackie has had the privilege of observing wildlife in many corners of the world. This close observation, often involving intense research trips and sculpting from life in the field, informs Hamish’s whole approach to his work, which resonates with his passion for the natural world.

bronze lion head

His bronze wildlife sculptures capture instinctive moments of animal behaviour but are his own interpretation, not merely photographic representations. Hamish manages to convey the inner core, strength and grace of his subject. His style is unique – he frequently works in spontaneous, often unrepeatable, fluid gestures with a confidence born from many years of mastering his craft. This assertive handling of his materials, coupled with an acute understanding of anatomy, results in strong, dynamic, ‘living’ sculptures.

“It is close observation of my subject’s behaviour that really brings my pieces to life. I want to convey a sense of character, their spirit. A sculpture should have its own power. I want the viewer to feel an emotional response.” (HM)

making armature

His wildlife sculptures are cast in bronze, silver or occasionally gold, as limited editions, each signed, dated and numbered. Each sculpture takes on average four months to be made. It starts with the creation a wire armature to support the clay model which is sculpted, moulded and then cast into bronze using the ancient lost wax method. It is a highly skilled, labour-intensive process which culminates in the patination, which Hamish does himself. All his available sculptures can be viewed on the website here: Available Sculptures.

Recent works, inspired by a research trip to Lew Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, include a life size bronze Lion and Lioness. You can see a video about the making of these sculptures here:

Hamish’s work is held in private and public collections around the world, including the permanent Sir Winston Churchill Collection at Blenheim Palace, the US White House, and the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park in Yorkshire. He has completed a wide variety of commissions including for Woburn Abbey and Floors Castle, Four Seasons Hotels, the Household Cavalry, the National Trust and the RSPCA.

In 2012, Hamish had sculptures on public display in London as part of the Olympics Public Art. In 2016, he won the Public Monuments and Sculptures Association’s Marsh Award for Excellence for his Goodman’s Fields Horses – six life-and-a-quarter sized bronze horses running loose through a pedestrianised plaza in the City of London. The same year, one of his monumental sculptures was displayed on the Mall.

In 2020, he will be showing recent work at his triennial Solo Exhibition – Life in Bronze – at Mall Galleries, London, from 13th – 24th October. The new catalogue for Life in Bronze will be released in September 2020 – you can request a copy and more details about the show or sign up to Hamish’s newsletter on the Contact Page.

bronze lion sculptures

“What I recognised in his work was a visceral and emotional connection between the subject, Hamish and the clay. It is this skill, his observational powers and his ability to give life to his sculpture that make Hamish Mackie’s work exceptional.” (Nancy Minshull-Beech, Arts Curator)