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Top sculptor's widow left devastated after brazen theft of garden sculptures

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 07, 2012

  • Sculptor John Robinson, pictured with some of his work at Frome College in 2006

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The family of internationally renowned sculptor John Robinson has been devastated by the theft of seven life-size sculptures of children from the grounds of his widow’s Somerset home.

The pieces, cast in metal, show youngsters playing in a variety of natural poses. The most distinctive are two boys on hobby horses. All are worth a substantial sum.

Mr Robinson, who died aged 71 in 2007, made his name as a sculptor of children and sports figures and was official sculptor for the British Olympic Committee in 1988.

His ‘Hammer Thrower’ is outside the Bowring Building, Tower Hill, London, and his five-metre Acrobats is outside the Sports Centre in Canberra. He was Official Sculptor for the British Olympic Committee in 1988, and his Gymnast is at the new Olympic Museum in Lausanne, donated by the Australian Olympic Committee.

The theft of the sculptures, and of silver, from the property at Galhampton, near Castle Cary, happened between Friday, September 28 and Sunday, September 30 when Mr Robinson’s widow, Margie, was attending a wedding.

The burglary was discovered on Sunday evening. It was reported to police who have been working covertly to recover the property and identify the thieves for several days before seeking help from the public.

Avon and Somerset Police appealed to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area at the time of the thefts to get in touch by ringing 101.

Mr Robinson was born in London of an Australian father and English mother. Evacuated to Australia during the war he attended Melbourne Grammar School but returned to England and went to Rugby School where he won prizes for geometry and sculpture.

He left school at 16 for a career in the Merchant Navy, but left to enjoy a life of adventure in Australia where he was a cattle drover and developed a sheep farm in remote land in the Ninety Mile Desert of South Australia.

In the 1960s he began modelling friends and children in clay, sold the farm and came to England working as a sculptor first in a barn studio in Devon and then in Somerset.

In the 1970s he began the Universe Series of dramatic abstract works in bronze, stainless steel and marble and also created 11 tapestries.

One of his abstract works stands outside Yeovil Hospital. He was also the founder of the Bradshaw Foundation founded to highlight the prehistoric rock art of Australia.

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