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Maquette made to secure commission of famed Morecambe Bay statue of Eric Morecambe up for sale

7th April 2021.

A bronze maquette of Eric Morecambe by Graham Ibbeson, made to secure the commission of the famous statue of the comedian that graces the Morecambe Bay seafront, is coming up for sale in Tennants Auctioneers Antiques and Interiors Sale on 23rd April with an estimate of £1,500-2,500 plus buyer’s premium. The sculpture will be offered amongst a selection of Affordable Modern and Contemporary Art.

Barnsley-born Ibbeson’s life-size statue of Eric Morecambe was unveiled in 1999 by Her Majesty the Queen. It proved so popular, that in the first year after its unveiling extra visitor numbers to the seaside resort generated more than £1million in car parking fees alone. The Statue is said to be the most photographed public sculpture in the North West of England and has continued to generate many millions of pounds for the resort over the past 22 years.

This bronze maquette measures just 38.5cm high and is the artist’s proof from Ibbeson’s private collection. Only 10 bronzes were cast from the mould before it was destroyed. Gold plated bronze casts of the maquette were used as a 'Comic Heritage Award' and recipients included Norman Wisdom, Victoria Wood, Thora Hird, and Bruce Forsyth.

Graham Ibbeson has been a professional sculptor since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1978. His ability to capture the essence of a character with warmth and humanity sets him apart, and he has numerous public sculptures in towns around the UK including statues of Laurel and Hardy, Les Dawson, Dickie Bird and Cary Grant. He is currently working on Barnsley’s COVID-19 memorial to commemorate the lives lost and recognise key workers, which will be inscribed with a dedication by Barnsley-born poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan.

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