A sculptor who originally turned down the opportunity to create a statue has found out his monument has been listed amongst the likes of Michelangelo’s David and the Statue of Liberty.
Laurence Broderick, of Vicarage Road, Waresley, was asked in 2000 to design a statue of a bull for the Bullring, in Birmingham, ready for its reopening in 2003.
More than 10 years after its grand unveiling, the 2.2m-tall bronze figure has been included in The Independent’s top 10 of public art, reaching eight on the list. The top was David Mach’s domino of phoneboxes in Kingston-upon-Thames, followed by Michelangelo’s David in second and in fourth place the Statue of Liberty.
The lions in Trafalgar Square, London, also make the list, nominated by readers, at sixth.
“At first I didn’t want to do it. They said I was one of four sculptors they wanted to put in designs into a competition,” Mr Broderick said. “I didn’t want to do it because I don’t like competition, and I didn’t think I’d win, and also I had other things to do and coming up with a design would be quite lengthy. I also am known for other animals like otters.
“The deadline passed and I didn’t put an entry in. Afterwards I got a call from them asking why I didn’t apply and said they loved my leaping salmon I did for Chester Business Park and they asked me again to apply.
“I spoke to my wife and son and it became a family project. It took me from April to July to design it. I went to farms and asked farmers what distinguishes a bull and they told me the shoulders and to emphasise those.
“I made 14 drawings before making a model before I made a decision on the best, which was the last. Then I set about making a model and calculating the size.
“If I had done it life-size, then it would look like a dog amongst all the tall buildings. I could do 1.5 times the size, but I thought everyone else would do that, so I decided to make it double the size.” After a presentation to the Bullring architects, Mr Broderick was chosen as the winner and was given the go-ahead for the £100,000 project.
“At the end, the bull took every penny of it so I made no profit, but my son said I would benefit from the prestige of it,” Mr Broderick said. “I make smaller models of the bull, which are popular with the Chinese. I recently sent 10 to Beijing that were commissioned.”
Last week, it was brought to his attention by his son Graeham that the bull had been included in the top 10 of public art, a list compiled by The Independent, formed from suggestions from readers. “It’s absolutely incredible to be included in the list. I only found out through it, that it was called The Guardian. I just thought it was called The Bull,” he said. The statue is also said to be the third most photographed icon in Britain after the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. Currently, Mr Broderick is working on a bronze portrait for a customer.