Sculptor's bid to build statue honouring Portsmouth sailing hero Sir Alec Rose is rejected

CULTURE chiefs have poured cold water on a sculptor’s plan to build a life-size statue honouring sailing hero Sir Alec Rose in Portsmouth for a second time.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 3:32 pm

Vincent Gray had previously approached Portsmouth City Council with his idea to build a £120,000 bronze statue commemorating Sir Alec, who famously circumnavigated the globe single-handedly in 1967-68 on board his boat Lively Lady.

In a renewed tout for trade, the Sussex-based artist has again approached the city council saying he could create a cheaper life-sized statue.

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A smaller maquettes version of the Sir Alec Rose statue design. Photo: Vincent Gray

Reducing the size from ‘life and a quarter’ to life-size, as well as using alternative material like bronze resin rather than bronze, Vincent believes his tribute could be built for the ‘rock bottom’ cost of £40,000.

But Councillor Steve Pitt, Portsmouth’s culture boss, has again rejected the idea, saying the authority was not seeking any bids to commission such a statue in the first place.

He said: ‘There’s nothing wrong with Vincent’s work, I’ve looked at the standard of what he does – it’s obviously very good. There’s nothing wrong with the idea – it’s a good idea – but it’s just we haven’t sought it at this stage.’

He added: ‘This is a bit like me saying: “I’ve made you a cake, here it is – but you’ve got to give me £10 for it” and you saying “but I didn’t order a cake”... It’s not the normal process of things.’

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Vincent, who this month had a statue of Admirals Nelson and Murray unveiled in Chichester, said Sir Alec deserved to be recognised in Portsmouth.

‘He is not represented – and he should be. I have always been interested in these people because of their pioneering spirit,’ he said.

‘I am on a bit of a mission. These people should be represented.

‘Of course, it is my business to say that as a sculptor, but I do think you have got to ask the questions.’

Cllr Pitt said a tribute could form part of the multi-million pound Southsea sea defence scheme.

He added: ‘We would need to do that in a considered way as part of the overall review of what the public ground will look like, not as a one-off, isolated piece.

‘The public might say they don’t want a statue and that they’d rather see a mosaic or a mural or something else.

‘That’s why there has to be a process; we can’t just go and buy something just because somebody is offering to us.

‘This is not to say we’re not hugely interested in marking Sir Alec in an appropriate way.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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