Nigel Boonham is a British portrait sculptor whose work dates back to 1975. He learnt traditional skills and was trained in the making of large-scale portraits as assistant for two years to the sculptor Oscar Nemon. While working on one of his first portraits Boonham was introduced by Sir Geoffrey Keynes to the work of the poet and artist, William Blake. Blake’s free imagination and symbolic language have been an inspiration ever since. They have helped Boonham develop on the idea that sculpture, including portraiture, can have inner life and symbolic meaning.
Boonham’s reputation has grown steadily and he has extensive experience with public works. Over the past three decades he has made a series of distinguished portrait bronzes including Sir Geoffrey Keynes, Lord Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury; Archbishop Daniel Mannix of Melbourne; Peter Jonas, director of the ENO, and Dr Joseph Needham. He has made what has been described as a definitive bronze portrait of Dame Cicely Saunders OM, pioneer of the hospice movement: the first portrait of a woman in the collection of the Royal College of Physicians. His best- known portrait, of Diana, Princess of Wales was unveiled by the Princess herself at the National Hospital of Neurology, London.
Boonham’s three-metre statue of Cardinal Basil Hume set in a memorial garden designed by the sculptor was unveiled in May 2002 in Newcastle by Her Majesty The Queen as part of the Golden Jubilee. Boonham has gained a reputation for delivering large scale, complex projects requiring an overall sculptural vision. The five year Sydney project to refurbish the sanctuary at the St Mary’s Cathedral involved making an altar and two statues carved in marble, sculpture models for wood furniture and he designed six great wood screens inspired by the late Gothic Lady Chapel Screen at Winchester. His portrait of Ginger MCain (Aintree) and John Donne at St Paul’s Cathedral were unveiled in 2012 to much acclaim. Boonham’s 2013 monument to the First World Cup Winners, on the village green at West Auckland celebrates the victory of team of miners in 1909 and 1911 in the first World Football cup, the Thomas Lipton Trophy.
Courtesy of the artist’s website.