A slave to his creation

PUBLISHED: 12:04 09 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:36 12 May 2010

Paul Bainbridge adds the final touches to his new sculpture

Paul Bainbridge adds the final touches to his new sculpture

A SCULPTURE of a Roman slave has been unveiled in its new 1,700-year-old home. The work was the creation of sculptor Paul Bainbridge, of Housman Avenue, Royston. It shows a slave stoking a fire and has now taken up residency in the Welwyn Roman Bath ho

A SCULPTURE of a Roman slave has been unveiled in its new 1,700-year-old home. The work was the creation of sculptor Paul Bainbridge, of Housman Avenue, Royston. It shows a slave stoking a fire - and has now taken up residency in the Welwyn Roman Bath house. It is the second sculpture Mr Bainbridge has contributed to the ancient site after a chance meeting with Merle Rook, the wife of the archaeologist who discovered the bathhouse. Mr Bainbridge said: "I worked for Madame Tussaud's for 12 years and I reckon I did about 50 figures, including Shane Warne and Anthony Hopkins. "Because of that experience I go around Womens' Institutes and Rotary meetings, things like that, and present an illustrated slide show. Mrs Rook saw me when I was doing one in Welwyn." After being captivated by Mr Bainbridge's talk, Mrs Rook commissioned a sculpture of her husband, Tony Rook for the bathhouse. Following the successful installation of the first sculpture, which Mrs Rook thought was "very realistic" and "of a very good likeness", she commissioned a second. This time modelled on Mike Heaseman - one of the team of archaeologists involved in excavating the bathhouse site. "He was a very good model," said Mr Bainbridge. "All I needed him for was a couple of hours when I sat him down on a turntable and took photographs of him all the way round. "I'm pleased with the piece in that that it's a good effort having worked just from the photos. "It's always better, if you want a good likeness, to have the subject sitting next to the lump of clay. "It's so much easier when I have got the body, because then you've got stereo vision instead of 2-D vision, like you get with photos." With the second sculpture cemented in place, Mr Bainbridge is already looking to contribute a third figure, this time a female. "They did ask me the other day if I would be willing to consider doing a third, and I would," he said. "We are now looking for some funding to put in another figure, of a female bathing the first figure of Tony Rook dressed in a towel. "I suspect the Roman citizens would have actually been naked, but we wouldn't want to frighten the horses," said Mr Bainbridge. - For more information on the Bath House call 01707 271362.

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