Our keynote speaker this year has made his career bringing beauty and sculptural form to the garden in a truly unique and compelling way. English sculptor Rupert Till has spent more than twenty years creating extraordinary life-sized wire sculptures for gardens in the UK and around the world.
Always inspired by the natural world around him, as a child Rupert observed the way vines and creepers wound their way around trees or other plants, or grew up fence posts or walls, and thought about recreating those natural forms in permanent materials. He remembers visiting the Chelsea Flower Show when he was still at college, and noting that the only sculptures he saw there were made from bronze resin. Back in his native Yorkshire he began experimenting with wire mesh he’d recovered and recycled from disused pheasant rearing pens, discovering he could bend and shape the mesh to create botanical and animal forms; and that to do so cost less than casting work in bronze resin.
His early experimentation led to more ambitious work, and soon he was exhibiting regularly through garden shows and other events. Today he has created a niche market for a range of his unique garden sculptures, finding homes for his work in private and public gardens, usually without exhibiting through galleries.
With his early work exclusively in galvanised wire, as Rupert’s confidence grew he experimented with larger forms and worked more freely with other types of wire, including copper and bronze. In 2012, he began working with bespoke bronze wiring made to his specification, a material that gives him the perfect softness and allows him to work to a large scale. The use of wire to replicate plant and animal shapes has proved ideal, meaning he can echo tissue, muscle and plant forms to show fluid movement and grace in the natural environment.
Rupert has now created hundreds of commissioned pieces for collectors all over the world. He shows annually at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and regularly shows and talks about his work. In 2012 he was awarded The British Sporting Art Trust Prize for Sculpture by the Society of Equestrian Artists.