Homage to Tate: his mausoleum recreated in sugar cubes

By Nuala McCann
BBC News

Image caption,
Sugar sculptor Brendan Jamison with his recreation of the Henry Tate mausoleum

Northern Ireland artist Brendan Jamison is going back to his roots.

The craftsman who is a 'sugar cubist' has produced a homage to the man who made the sugar cube, Sir Henry Tate.

Jamison's intricate carvings in sugar cubes have featured in the corridors of power and been admired by presidents and prime ministers across the world.

Now, his sculpture of Henry Tate's mausoleum in West Norwood Cemetery, London, is to go on display in the graveyard, beside the real building.

"It will be positioned outdoors in a special display case and is part of the Curious sculpture trail , curated by Jane Millar for the cemetery," he explained.

As the creator of sugar cubes in the UK, Sir Henry Tate made his fortune in the sugar trade and was one of the most significant art collectors of the Victorian era.

In 1897, he bequeathed his vast art collection to the nation and poured £100,000 into the building of the very first Tate Gallery.

Belfast-based artist Jamison created a sculpture of the 10 Downing Street door which was exhibited in the hallway of the real 10 Downing Street, earlier this year.

He used 5,117 sugar cubes and it took two months to complete.

The Belfast-based artist has made a name for himself using a tonne of sugar lumps and sculpting them into beautiful intricate models that glitter in the daylight, in the way that only pure white sugar can.

He fashioned the iconic Tate Modern building in London, made to scale, using exactly 71,908 sugar cubes.

Image caption,
Helen's Tower in sugar: © Brendan Jamison

Nearer home, he recreated the turrets and pinnacles of Helen's Tower, Bangor, all in sugar.

Brendan's interest in architecture began in childhood. He was always a 3-D thinker, he said, and there was one toy he loved above all others... lego.

Not for him clay, stone or marble. In his years at art school in Belfast and afterwards, he took wool and wax and sugar and created art from them.

He came to sugar after a brief dalliance with Smarties - and was attracted by how he could cut and carve the cubes.

"There was more freedom in working with them," he explained.

"I was attracted by the beautiful sparkles on the sugar cubes. It is a beautiful finish, you can see the fairytale sparkle in the natural light."

In his final year at the University of Ulster, his exhibition featured seven 9ft tall sculptures - they were temples and minarets and giant cacti. This devil is in the detail.

His latest work will feature in the outdoor sculpture trail in London which runs from 22 June to 20 July.

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