Edward Watson (in Rehearsal)

The first piece to be completed in the Royal Ballet Collection is a half life size portrait of the Principal dancer, Edward Watson.

Michael describes his initial session with Edward below:

Sculpture is drawn to ballet like a moth to the flame , The Royal Ballet being its brightest flame. To stand in a rehearsal room in the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden is to see the sinew and bones of the ballet literally and metaphorically.

Michael first started working with Edward in December 2012 when they met in one of the dance studios at the Royal Opera House, the home of The Royal Ballet.

The dancer, a blank rehearsal room, with a mirrored wall and a piano. This is the white canvas to a painter, the clay and the wire to a sculptor. Here I met Royal Ballet Principal Edward Watson for the first time, a dancer at the height of his powers with a truly humbling dedication.

This initial session allowed Michael to determine what the study of Edward would look like.

Within a few minutes of exploring possible shapes and movements,  I saw Edward’s discipline and delight in the structure, form and balance that are the essential elements in figurative expression. The final image was distilled and is a study in stillness which I have never witnessed in any model, stillness which is not the absence of movement but is a state of grace .

When I came away from our first session I was certain of two things, this was a working environment where there is no compromise and the image I would sculpt would be “in rehearsal”.

Ten weeks after the initial session with Edward, Michael returned to the Royal Opera House. The clay sculpture had evolved by this time into a rough sketch of the intended final study and this second session was to refine the fine details of the pose. Edward held the pose with below with amazing poise and balance while he was rotated on a turntable.

Edward Watson and Michael Talbot in the Royal Opera House

A third and final session with Edward took place at Michael Talbot’s gallery, Calken Gallery in London in December 2013 and the piece was finally cast in bronze and finished a year later.

Edward Watson is in Price Band E