Leaving

This week our community pays tribute to an exceptional Old Cranleighan. Nicholas Dimbleby, a gifted and highly acclaimed figurative sculptor, created ‘Leaving’…

This week our community pays tribute to an exceptional Old Cranleighan.

Nicholas Dimbleby, a gifted and highly acclaimed figurative sculptor, created ‘Leaving’ the beautiful war memorial that stands at the front of our school.

It was unveiled in 2015, to commemorate our 150th anniversary, and described by The Good Schools Guide as ‘the most moving war memorial ever seen in a school.’

Nicholas worked with pupils to fine tune the design, and with the School’s architects to create a foundation for his sculpture that carries all the names of the fallen and creates a congregational space. The sculpture itself, made in bronze and stone carving, he said was intended to ‘convey leaving, vulnerability, service to the outside world, and the futility of war.’

Nicholas was the Dimbleby brother who did not follow father Richard into broadcasting. Instead, inspired by the art and music he enjoyed at Cranleigh, he chose a path of figurative sculpture, creating bronzes such as James McNeill Whistler that stands on Cheyne Walk by Battersea Bridge in central London, a 2m statue of Jimmy Hill for Coventry City FC and a bronze of James Cook in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire.

Another commission was from the Royal College of Physicians, to honour doctors who died during the Covid pandemic. Two of Dimbleby’s sculptures were acquired by the King. His last work, a stunning life-size figure of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Ottery St Mary, Devon, was unveiled last year.

Nicholas passed away this month, following a battle with motor neurone disease. He will be much missed by all who knew him.

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