A 'must go' place to visit in Harrogate - engaging, eclectic and distinctive sculpture, ceramics and art housed in a wonderful fresh space which itself challenges the preconceptions as to what constitutes a gallery aesthetic
An unbelievably high calibre of artists in a gem of a gallery. Predominantly ceramics, breathtaking sculptures, a beautifully refurbished grand piano too!Aidan Delacey-Simms
When we first opened, we were deep in a recession. Our research showed that speciality galleries tended to survive better during such periods and sculpture and ceramics were our driving passions in the artworld. Most of our local competitors were concentrating on the local market so we aimed for something distinctively different! When we opened, we didn’t offer any paintings, only adding these in our second year to satisfy a demand.
Why are many sculptures from an edition?
The simple answer to this is that the mold making process is expensive and thus better spread across a short run of sculptures known as editions. Typically, we sell works from low run editions. We try to stock as many unique works as possible. Artists such as Gus Farnes and Damon Price are renowned for their unique works.
Bronze is typically cast using a lost wax method that has been in existence for thousands of years. Cold casting is typically a method that uses a resin base combined with a powder and cast without the need to heat the material.
The exact origins of lost wax casting are shrouded in mystery and it is possible that the technique was developed independently in different regions, but archaeological records suggest that the method was first used at some point in the fourth millennium BC.
Prior to this, molten copper was transformed into relatively rudimentary tools and weapons using simple open or two-part moulds made from stone or clay. The bright idea of first carving a wax model, around which a clay mould could then be formed and heated – a process which both hardens the clay shell and melts away the wax – meant that much more elaborate metal objects could be cast, and opened the door to a whole new world of craftsmanship and artistry.
Some of the earliest known objects produced in this way are decorative copper items found in the Nahal Mishmar hoard, in Southern Palestine, which have been dated back to 3700 BC. Other early lost-wax-cast pieces, from delicate miniatures and dress pins to life-size statues, have been found all around the world, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as in Africa and the Americas.
As the use of lost wax casting spread, new techniques and variations were introduced to the process. As well as copper, metal workers began casting pieces in bronze and gold. Furthermore, the development of hollow casting allowed for the production of hollow objects that could be made more cheaply, while the introduction of indirect casting made larger-scale pieces viable.
Watch how bronze sculptures are made by clicking here
There are many galleries around the world that sell works on the basis of investment. At Bils & Rye we concentrate on selling good value, well-made artworks that are beautiful.
Bronze is proving immensely popular currently with lead times from foundries rising to 20 weeks. This inevitably has a knock-on effect in the secondary market, meaning there is a good chance that contemporary works will continue to rise in price.
The raw material costs in bronze sculpture have risen dramatically in the past three to four years so we do think that there is a good chance a bronze sculpture will accrue in value, particularly the works we select on the basis of their form and build quality.
That said, trends do change, so we do not provide any form of guarantee and we strongly advise against taking any such guarantee seriously.
If you have any more questions about sculpting, feel free to give us a call on Harrogate 01423 564777 or visit our contemporary sculpture gallery.