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Examples of our work

Recent projects:

Building the Sculpture by the Lakes stand at Chelsea Flower Show 2015

Doll's Head To Norway


Helaine Blumenfeld - Salisbury CathedralWhen Chris at Castle Fine Arts approached me a couple of years ago and said “I have a job in Norway I would like you to do”, I thought he was thinking ahead. And he was, a 7 tonne bronze doll’s head; 7 metres tall, 4.2 metres wide, and, even when laid down, 3.9 metres high. This caused a lot of head scratching (pardon the pun) for a while, until I could work it out, bit by bit.

The first challenge was to get the sculpture out of the building; wit only 50mm each side, and next to no room overhead – this in itself would be no mean feat. We used sheets of ply and oil in order to edge the piece out of the building to be lifted onto the low loader. I should add that all the time this was going on I was being filmed for a television documentary.... no pressure then!
 

Helaine Blumenfeld - Salisbury Cathedral

 

The next part of the journey meant a police escort down through the UK to the port at Immingham, at 4.2 metres wide, the same high and 20 metres long – this was quite a sight. The journey would take 27 hours.

Due the sheer size of the load, Norwegian road regulations meant I could only travel at night, with two pilot cars and police escort. In Oslo we had to run the length of the tramways, as these were the only roads big enough to take the large load.

We finally reached our destination in Oslo at 02:00am, and I had the next day to organise the lifting, and try to get some sleep before we set about getting the load off. We used an 80 tonne crane and the crane on my Scania to upright the sculpture and place it on the pre cast concrete pad.

That evening, Chris and myself had a well deserved beer and celebrated a job well done.

The job took nine days from start to finish and I would like to thank Convoi Exceptionnel in Southampton and John Hudson Trailers for all their assistance with this job, as well as Chris Butler at Castle Fine Arts.
 

 

Cass Sculpture Park in Goodwood

Helaine Blumenfeld - Salisbury Cathedral and Park Lane, London

Helaine Blumenfeld - Salisbury CathedralHelaine Blumenfeld is a sculptor I admire so much, still working hard and attending every installation of her work. Helaine spends most of her time between Italy and the UK. Her work is mainly marble or bronze, both large and small – and believe me very awkward to move!

I first worked for Helaine back in 2000 moving sculptures from London and Cambridge, but when I learnt that all of Helaine’s work was going to be exhibited at Salisbury Cathedral I was thrilled that we were asked to do the installation. On closer examination of the manifest – I realised what a mammoth task was ahead...

Esprit and Mysteries had to come from Italy. Cleopatra, Space Within and Flight were to come from Cambridge, and the list went on. All the sculptures had to get through a 3.9 metre high arch at Salisbury Cathedral. Flight had to be carefully laid down – and so began the sleepless nights! Once started, the weights of the marble sculptures; more than 7 tonnes, were carefully strapped, choked and placed in and around the Cathedral. Five long, hard days resulted in the cathedral having more visitors than ever before, and, in my opinion, the best exhibition of sculpture to be staged in Salisbury for a very long time.

Helaine Blumenfeld - Salisbury CathedralThen, just when my sleeping patterns had returned to normal(!) the phone rang with the next task for Helaine; to move “Spirit of Life”.This piece had never been moved on its base before and so a travel crate had to be made that was going to be strong and robust enough to take such a heavy lift.

The location of the sculpture was the next problem; set in the heart of the forest at Cass Sculpture Park in Goodwood – with undulating ground all around meant getting a lorry crane in would be difficult, but moving the piece even more so because of how the ground was laid around the piece. Getting the ground level and stable took 16 tonnes of timber, mats and blocks.

The top of the sculpture was, as is a regular feature of Helaine’s pieces, extremely fragile and we had to have straps specially made to do the job. Once out of the woods and onto an ultra low loader trailer, it was off to Park Lane at 05:30am on a Sunday morning to carry out the installation. Using a 70 ton crane, this part was relatively easy – although the road had to be closed as is often the case for installations of this size. As always, Helaine was there to oversee the installation, and so too were the BBC to film this beautiful masterpiece being installed.

To this day we are still working on new projects and installations for Helaine and the Bowman Gallery in London. I have to say, that despite the challenging nature of handling Helaine’s sculptures – they are magnificent works of art and look fantastic in any setting.

A lot of people were involved in Helaine’s installations and I would like to thank them all, not least Keara and her team in Italy. Here’s to the next movement for Helaine.....

For more photos of these installations – please go to the Photo Gallery.

Cass Sculpture Park in Goodwood

Crane assisted haulage for heavy sculpture

Waddesdon Manor

One of the many beautiful homes owned by Lord Rothschild.  In 2012 it saw its historical gardens turned into a sculpture park, with some of the largest pieces in the UK and Europe on display for 5 months throughout the summer. We were called upon for our lifting expertise having the heavy cranes required to take on the transportation and installation of most of the larger sculptures.

One crate, at 3.9 metres high, gave us some head scratching moments as Waddesdon Manor  is situated between two 15ft bridges – making transporting anything a major operation.  At 3.2 metres wide on a low trailer we had just 40mm to spare.  Once on site I had sculptures coming in from all over Europe and the UK, six working days to complete the installation.  Our large crane with fly jib covered most of this work with its 25 metre reach, (the heaviest sculpture was 5 tonnes) – meaning that much of the lifting itself was relatively easy.

One of the heaviest sculptures came from France and took 15 tonnes of heavy matting to protect the grass, 3 lifting devices (2 HIABs and one tele-handler), and two very keen French men to erect the piece.  With the help of RDM Transport Limited and our experienced staff, all the pieces were installed safely, and on time.  So that was the job done, for the Summer anyway....  November saw the de-installation of the exhibition and the work began all over again.....
 

Pegasus and the Paratrooper

Crane assisted haulage for heavy sculptureMark Jackson and Charlie Langton are masters of their craft. This job involved the placement of two outstanding pieces of sculpture, serving as a Memorial to the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces.

This was a difficult move to say the least;  the height of the Pegasus sculpture was the first issue – however, with our expertise we decided that rotating the Pegasus through 30 degrees and having a bespoke transportation frame made solved that. Over hanging branches and low trees were another problem – but thanks to Ginger Farrar (an old friend of Mark’s) we managed to clear a 10 mile section of the route through mid Wales to see our way clear to our destination.

So much thought and preparation had gone into the project before we had even started – what could possibly go wrong! Added to the pressure was the timescale – a huge event had been arranged for the unveiling of these pieces due to be attended by HRH Prince Charles – these pieces had to go in on time.

June and July saw some of the worst rainfall in the UK for decades.  The National Arboretum near Litchfield was in the thick of it.  It was under 18 inches of water – with torrents running through the park on the day we arrived. The night before the installation was due to take place, the whole thing looked hopeless.  The sculptor, Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson sat on a post overlooking the park, which by now resembled a lake – the job, for him, was cancelled.

Crane assisted haulage for heavy sculptureAt J A Mackenzie we don’t give up so easily.  I sat with my driver, Rob Langley,  that night and formulated a plan – we were as confident as you could be that we could get those pieces where they were supposed to go. The next day we met the team bright and early in the car park – the only place that wasn’t under two feet of water – and told them our plan.

We transferred the sculptures onto a smaller truck and proceeded with care through the narrow single track roads under water, a man at each corner to guide the truck through – one wrong move at this stage could mean the soft verges giving way – and the truck would be turned over – sculpture and all!

Rob drove the truck with the care and precision he always does – and after holding our breath quite a bit, we arrived at the installation site.
We needed sixteen tonnes of heavy 5m x 1m matting in order to stabilise the crane and keep it in position whilst we unloaded the sculptures. We had given up on keeping dry by now – even the carp swimming between our legs were eager to come and have a look at what was going on....!

With the help of Jacko’s fantastic team of men, Rob and I worked a long and hard day to get the final result; a magnificent tribute to the Airborne Forces to whom we owe so much.

N.B.  No fish were injured during this installation.

For more photos of the installation at Litchfield – please go to the Photo Gallery.

Crane assisted haulage for heavy sculpture