David Wynne: Spirit of Fire
David Wynne is a renowned British sculptor of figures, animals and portraits. Born in Hampshire in 1926, Wynne was educated at Stow School in Buckinghamshire before serving in the Royal Navy during World War ll. Wynne studied Zoology at Trinity College, Cambridge and took up sculpture professionally in 1950. In 1994 Wynne was awarded an OBE.
In 1964 Wynne created ‘Man of Fire’ which would later be known by locals as ‘Jack Frost’ or most recently ‘The Spirit of Fire’.
The sculpture is located on the side of the Intu Potteries shopping centre. The 35ft anodised aluminium sculpture weighs 1.25 tons and symbolises the fire that fuelled the city’s main industries – ceramics, mining and steelworks. The sculpture represents fire as a man to strengthen the connection and signify how important fire was to the industrial wealth of Stoke-on-Trent as well as its people.
The sculpture uses fire to unite the industries together by referencing that it is the spirit of Stoke-on-Trent. When David Wynne was looking for inspiration within the city he was noted for saying ‘…it hit me that the sculpture must have something to do with the great fires which dominate the life of the potteries.’ This iconic piece of artwork is as contextually appropriate now as it was in 1964 and being forged from aluminium means the sculpture is unable to rust or weather, preserving a timeless eye catching survivor in an ever changing city centre.