Sean Rice

My father, Sean Rice

There really has to be a page dedicated to my father, Sean Rice.   He was and still is a great inspiration to me. The short Pathe Video below shows him as a young man, sculpting in cement, fiberglass and sandstone, after returning from studying at the British School in Rome as a Rome Scholar.  He went on to become Head of Sculpture at Nottingham College of Art, Liverpool College of Art and later, head of Three Dimensional Design at Wrexham.

 

Sean held many successful solo shows in the West End of London at Alwin Gallery in Grafton Street throughout the seventies and eighties.  Later in life he undertook a massive commission from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral to create fourteen cast and welded bronze relief panels, the Stations of the Cross, as well as the lectern and a large figure of Abraham in bronze.

He won competitions, including one to create a twenty foot fountain in bronze destined for Hyde Park. Sadly it never reached its intended destination because of a change of mind by the awarding panel. Nevertheless the commission was paid for and completed and can now be found at Chester Zoo.

As a young boy my vivid memories are of my father in his studio, then in Southport, working into the small hours most nights after teaching all day.  I would be shown in on special occasions to peer into the furnace in which he used to cast and fashion bronze figures, glowing red and seemingly alive in the fire.  Watching him pull them from the heat and then plunge them into a quenching tank, where they would hiss and roar furiously in the green water before emerging, glinting like gold.  Sometimes a bead of molten bronze would jump from his work as he welded and begin to burn its way through his leather shoes! His strength seemed super-human and he was always using fire and metal.

I will also remember the father that fostered my interest in painting. Together we took great pleasure in visiting galleries and museums in London, looking at paintings by Constable, Turner, the Norwich School and frequenting a lot of commercial art galleries.  On my thirteenth birthday he presented me not with any average set of paints but with a stove-enameled box of Winsor and Newton artists watercolours, several sable brushes and some really good watercolour paper.  It was this enlightened and very generous gift that opened the world of painting for me.