David Williams-Ellis' sculptures are inspired by the romanticism of Rodin and Bourdelle, they are noted for their classical balance and poise and above all for a sense of movement and vitality captured within the form. It’s the powerful energy of David’s work that moves it beyond the ornamental and gives it its definitive contemporary edge.
David sought out classical training in Florence under the legendary octogenarian drawing teacher, Nerina Simi. From there he went on to be an apprentice wood carver and then joined a community of marble carvers in Pietresanta beneath the Carrara Mountains. It was a chance encounter with a girl sitting on a pillar that planted the seed of inspiration that would later blossom into a signature style.
Using simple ink drawings as a starting point, David works with a model to create a maquette that he later develops into a full-sized piece, often larger than life. True to form, Louise was an idea that originated from the encounter in Pietrasanta. The maquette worked so well that it led to a series of three life-sized sculptures for private collections across Europe. David works in clay directly from life, which is key to portraying the essence of character without the sculpture being overworked.
“I like my sculptures to leave the viewer with a question”, says David about his work. “people should be able to come back again and again and see something that they might not have noticed before.”
David’s reputation was cemented after his time in Italy, and soon he was travelling round Britain sculpting commissioned portraits. Exhibitions at the Portland Gallery, the Bruton Gallery, Agnews, Sladmore and Cadogan Contemporary followed.
Today his work is in private collections all over the world and can be seen dominating public spaces and flagship buildings from Scone Palace in Perthshire to the IFC Building in Shanghai, Swires in Hong Kong and above Gold Beach in Normandy. He continues to sculpt both public and private commissions.
On 6th June 2019 David’s biggest project to date, the D-Day Sculpture, was unveiled in Normandy above Gold beach by the President of France and the Prime Minister to commemorate the 22422 service men and women who fell under British command on D-Day and in the Normandy campaign.
"I met the Queen in July and she told me how pleased she was that the portraits were being seen everywhere for her Jubilee.
I originally shot the commission in black and white and had always wanted to colourise it in some way. The Platinum Jubilee seemed like a good celebratory moment to do so. I took 70 frames from the sequence I used for the official 3D portrait, each with a different perspective, and screen printed them in some wild vibratory feel good colours. " CL