Feature: Rachel Carter Uncovers the Mystery of the Missing Sculpture

Ilkeston based sculptor, Rachel Carter has recently been commissioned to design a piece of public art for a new housing development in the Mickleover area of the city.

A house building consortium, which consists of Persimmon Homes North midlands, Radleigh and Peveril, is working with Derby City Council to integrate an imaginative and innovative sculpture installation at a new housing site in Mickelover.

The project is now moving forward at a fast pace and Rachel has held several public consultations at Mickelover Library to inform the public of her plans for her sculpture and find out what they want to see in their area.

Part of Rachel’s research and development plans was to look into the history of the site, which is based just off Uttoxeter Road and Girton Way, to uncover more about its heritage and after being introduced to the Mickleover Library User Group, she was told that a sculpture which had been created by a local artist used to stand on the area of land which was formally owned by the University of Derby.

“I was fascinated by the idea of a sculpture previously sitting in the area where my work will eventually feature, so I set about researching the sculpture and the artist and joined the local History Society for their monthly meeting to talk about the commission for the housing development and mentioned the mystery sculpture. Some of the members recalled the statue and one said it depicted a mother and child, the members looked at the map of the new development and pointed to almost the exact place where the new sculpture is planned to be placed.

“Armed with this information, my search took me to the University of Derby and after a couple of hours searching through the archives I found a photo of a group of students chatting on a lawn and in the background was a faint image of the sculpture, the next photo I came across was a full sized photo of the sculpture which appeared to feature two intertwined figures,” said Rachel.

The missing sculpture, ‘Duo’ is now displayed in all of its glory in the University’s Art, Design and Technology facility and was crafted by Melbourne artist Ronald Pope, who according to the dedicated website set up by his family, drew his inspiration from the Peak District and the Derbyshire Dales.

Rachel is now in the process of working with students at Murray Park Community School in Mickleover and will use the ideas that come from this engagement programme to form part of the final submission for the sculpture.

“It’s really important to involve the local community in a project like this and it’s been a brilliant experience working with the students, their enthusiasm and ideas are inspirational. With the student’s input, the exciting information I’ve found out about Ronald Pope’s sculpture mixed with my own ideas will give me a brilliant footing to base my final ideas on,” said Rachel.

October will see Rachel submit her final ideas for the public art and begin to move forward with creating her sculpture for the development.

Rachel charts her search for Ronald Pope’s sculpture on her www.rachelcarter.tumblr.com and for more information n Ronald Pope’s life and works visit www.ronaldpope.com.