Sabellian Dancers

Commissioned in 2010 for one of the grand Stucco fronted Nash terraced houses in Regents Park, London, this frieze was inspired by the Renaissance northern Italian dancers or Sibellian tribe denoting the area of northern Italy where they were based, and defines this 15th Century native people who were carefree and a fairly nomadic in their behaviour.

‘Sabellian Dancers’ works both with and contrasts against the ornate Stucco work on this and other buildings in this area. The fine quality and sophistication of execution of the plasterwork on the front of the property was something that I was inspired by, but I wanted to avoid the direct classical pastiche. The mood and lifestyle of the dancers was chaotic and exciting and as the structure of any frieze becomes narrative by nature, the constraints of working laterally helped control the design which was a great contrast to be able to work with.

The context of the Sabellian Dancers is routed in the nomadic groups of Italian tribes of the Sabine people existing at about the time of the rise of the Roman Empire producing a culture of music and dance. This was completely perfect for the location outdoors in the garden which was to be enjoyed both at night and during the day. I also enjoyed the play on words with the other meaning of a non trinititarian belief in the notion that Father, Son and Holy Ghost as separate modes of one god other than three distinct persons in one God. I wanted to incorporate in this piece the notion that the separate figures in my friezes are all individuals making up the collective whole rather than taking out individual pieces in a more Rodinesque manner of forming a frieze or panel. August Rodin used the motifs from the gates of Hell to then go on a produce seperate figures and pieces like ‘The Thinker’ are directly taken from this piece of work.