Dylan Thomas statue to honour Wales' Man of Words
One of the most influential poets and writers of the 20th century is set to be honoured in his home city of Swansea
Renowned Welsh sculptor Peter Nicholas is close to finishing the piece which will then be cast in bronze and erected near 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, the house in the Uplands suburb where he was born and lived for 23 years.
Behind the plans is Geoff Haden who with his wife Anne recently restored the birthplace of the poet to its condition when bought by the Thomas family in 1914 a few months before Dylan was born in the front bedroom.
Dylan lived in the house during his immensely creative teenage years when he produced over two thirds of his published work including his first collection 18 Poems, which was published when he was just nineteen years old.
Said Mr Haden: "The birthplace is the single most important building from Dylan's lifetime and we felt that a statue was a fitting tribute to the area that shaped his future work particularly as we found a sculptor with a massive reputation and similar views and ideals.
"The statue will be a huge boost to the Uplands area of Swansea which will be the focus for the centenary of Dylan's birth in 2014.
"This is an opportunity for the private sector to work with the local authority and Welsh Government with their plans for the restoration of Cwmdonkin Park and other plans in the area."
Tredegar born sculptor Peter Nicholas came out of retirement to take on the project as he was fascinated by Dylan's early life and the chance to create a larger than life size figure of a larger than life size man.
Mr Nicholas, who has completed a number of significant commissions in a career spanning sixty years, said " I came to live and work in Gower and Swansea thirty years ago and discovered the work and folklore surrounding Dylan.
"In 2003 I was fortunate to produce a medal for the Royal Mint to commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of Dylan's death in a New York hospital.
"For this latest work I've tried to capture the hopes and aspirations of a young man tentatively setting out on an extraordinary journey from provincial poet to becoming, in a few short years, a celebrity of rock star proportions."
Shortly, the Dylan Thomas Statue Appeal will be launched for sponsorship from the corporate sector and from the Dylan enthusiast to raise the estimated £80,000 for the work to be erected at a closely guarded location near to 5 Cwmdonkin Drive.
Because Dylan has a large following across the world Mr Haden has already met with David Morgan, the president of the New York St David's Society, about a second statue being placed in New York's Greenwich Village not far from the White Horse Tavern which Dylan frequented on his four trips to the United States
Already one of the models made as part of the preparatory work for the full scale statue has crossed the Atlantic and now a bronze casting is set to go the same way.
President Jimmy Carter is a lifelong Dylan fan and accepted the bust when Anne and Geoff Haden visited him in Atlanta last November and as Mr Haden explained "The plaster model was brought back for a bronze cast to be made and this will be on its way to Atlanta later this week and will sit on the President's desk in his study at home underneath a portrait of Dylan.
"Later in the year there will be a limited edition of castings available for purchase as part of the fundraising for the full size statue which is anticipated to be unveiled at the beginning of the Dylan Centenary celebrations at the start of 2014."
Further information from Geoff Haden on 01792 403333 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about tours of Dylan Thomas' birthplace.