The Led Zeppelin legacy – sculpting John Bonham and more . . .

Image caption: Sculpture of John Bonham, courtesy of Bob Berry.

This year marks 50 years since the formation of rock phenomenon Led Zeppelin. As a tribute to Zeppelin’s legendary drummer, John Bonham, sculptor Mark Richards was commissioned to create a memorial sculpture of this local hero, which is now located in Redditch town centre and was unveiled in 2018.

Mark will be speaking at Bewdley Festival at 2.30pm on Tuesday 15 October in Bewdley Baptist Church. He will run through not just his Bonham creation, but also touch on the many commissions with which he has been involved, including the Royal Family and many more.

Sculptor Mark Richards, who will be speaking at Bewdley Festival at 2.30pm on Tuesday 15 October in Bewdley Baptist Church.

Mark is a sculptor specialising in fine figurative work. He was brought up in the tradition of architectural sculpture, where sculptors focus on commissioned public art. Mark was taught by AJ Ayres who, in turn, had worked with Eric Gill and other well-known exponents of this tradition.

In his intriguing talk, Richards will run through how the design developed and the challenges the commission presented. This will be a fascinating insight into what went on behind the scenes of what is now widely considered to be one of the most original memorials in the world.

Creating to commission suits Richards. He enjoys working with people and within supportive, creative environments. He particularly values the often collaborative nature of working with both committees and individuals. In addition to his commissioned sculpture, Richards refreshes and augments himself by, among other things, looking at the very tradition from which he has grown. An example of this is work he made in Pietrasanta and Carrara in 2012, which explores how marble sculpture has been requisitioned by institutions over the centuries.

“Mark Richards brings renewed vigour to the art of public sculpture and is one of the finest figure and portrait sculptors in Great Britain. Combining a comprehensive understanding of sculptural techniques with a rare sensitivity of touch, his work exhibits both cohesive composition and great beauty of form. Mark is a pleasure to deal with; he combines professional efficiency and responsibility with great warmth and attentiveness. His natural interest in people is so evidently reflected in his figurative work.” Johannes von Stumm, President Royal British Society of Sculptors 2009-12

Tickets cost £10.00 and are available online from or from the Festival Office in St George’s Hall.