Richard Holliday

I started my career in Cambridge amongst the stone spires, as an apprentice in architectural restoration in 1979.

In 1989 I was one of four Directors in our start-up company called the Carving Workshop in Cambridge, and we were commissioned to produce public artworks such as The Battle of Britain Memorial on the Folkestone cliffs, two major pieces for the Boots headquarters millennium garden in Beeston, The Peace Gardens in Sheffield, Victoria Square in Birmingham and The Animals in War memorial in Park Lane London to mention but a few. A fourteen-month architectural contract living and working in Kuala Lumpar in Malaysia was also an unforgettable experience.

As one of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s collaborators I installed approximately ten large pieces within the ‘Little Sparta‘ Garden in Dunsyre near Edinburgh and produced many more for his clients worldwide.

I resigned my Directorship after a successful 18 years in public art in order to mitigate pressures of that hectic world and to concentrate on designing and making smaller studio pieces, drawing on my wealth of experience to form a cohesive narrative through my varied works.

In 2006 I moved down to Cornwall.


My inspiration comes from many sources.  My ocean sailing where I found isolation within deep nature is immensely fulfilling and deeply spiritual, nature itself and its myriad of organic shapes and forms, and of course my larger works informed by my experience in architecture.  Interpersonal dynamics and the dynamics within groups in society is a recent theme in my work, and the geometry associated with our physical world is fundamental in my practice.

I still love big work and although my past projects have involved sometimes a hundred tons of stone, it is ever more difficult to find qualified curators and enthusiasm within institutions for large works.  Hence my larger pieces now tend to be in the form of installations constructed from various pieces together, or one larger piece with interlocking pieces. This allows me to draw on the skills of my past experience in architectural construction and mix different stones within one sculpture.

I concentrate on hand work as much as possible, as I feel that machining leaves you numb and remote from the material, which if not careful reflects in the sculpture itself.

The making process and contact, rhythm and meditative nature of the mallet and chisel is everything to me, and still as pleasing now as it was the first time I picked up the tools.

My work is characterised by fine line form and texture from the tool, and my regular visits to Kettles Yard in Cambridge brought inspiration from the likes of Henri Gaudier Brzesca, an era of art that I adore. I am also inspired by ancient architecture with its size and precision.

Although I concentrate more on the studio pieces now, am I open to commissions? Well yeah!  As long as it is huge!  No really, I am very adept at working to a brief if required, as my experience in public art was always a balancing act in working within the strict regulations that accompany construction in the public space and there are many parties to consider in the process. With this in mind you have to consider yourself a part of the process, not all of it.  I enjoy this as a contrast against the studio work which of course is a wonderful indulgence.

Instagram: @richardonholliday