July 18, 2013 – Lately Royal Mint staff based in Llantrisant, South Wales had been watching with delight as a giant fibre-glass model of one of the world’s best-loved canine cartoon characters, Gromit, had been personalised with thousands of shiny new pennies for a public arts trail taking place in Bristol from 1 July.
Entitled ‘Gromit Unleashed’, the innovative exhibition features a total of 80 giant sculptures of Aardman Animations’ popular hound, each of which have been personalised by a host of artists, celebrities and international organisations in aid of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal for the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity.
Gromit Unleashed is a new public art exhibition, hitting the streets of Bristol on 1st July this summer for ten weeks this summer to raise funds for Bristol Children’s Hospital charity, Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal. Spearheaded by Aardman Animations, the arts trail will feature 80 giant, 5ft tall sculptures of Aardman’s world-famous animated character, Gromit.
Each sculpture will sport a unique design created by a prestigious line-up of artists, including internationally-renowned names. Set to become a major UK tourist attraction this year, the giant Gromits will take up residence in key locations in Bristol and beyond, before being auctioned off in October to raise funds for the Grand Appeal.
All the money raised will go towards supporting the expansion of Bristol Children’s Hospital, one of the leading multi- disciplinary children’s hospitals in the UK. The Grand Appeal has pledged to raise an initial £3.5 million for state-of-the-art equipment, including an intraoperative MRI scanner, family facilities and child-friendly artwork.
Wild in Art, a leading arts and education company which stages mass participation events in cities, is working with the Grand Appeal to deliver the project.
The Gromit sculpture. On the left its creator, Newport artist Stephanie Roberts; on the right The Royal Mint’s Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers. © The Royal Mint.
The Royal Mint’s Gromit, decorated by Newport artist Stephanie Roberts, has been given the title ‘National Treasure’. The Queen’s portrait side of the coins, or ‘heads’, have been placed around Gromit’s head, and the ‘tails’ sides towards his tail. Stephanie also gave the dapper dog a jazzily-patterned set of ‘coin’ trousers for the occasion, with a different floral, spiral or stripy design on each leg.
The Gromit medallion. © The Royal Mint.
A distinctive feature of The Royal Mint’s bespoke sculpture is a one-off medallion specially modelled out of plasticine by Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park, featuring a proud-looking Gromit in a bow tie with both ears standing to attention. The original artwork for the unique piece carries the inscription ‘GROMITUS MAGNUS’. The image was transferred from the model to the medallion by The Royal Mint’s Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers, before being positioned in pride of place on the character’s haunch.
Gordon Summers said “It is unusual for The Royal Mint to be asked to portray an image of a dog on a medallion, but we were honoured to do so for a national hero like Gromit! It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to be part of this prestigious arts exhibition for such a worthwhile cause”.
During a visit to The Royal Mint for the unveiling of the Gromit sculpture, Nick Park enjoyed seeing pennies in production, before watching his Gromit medallion being formed ready for placing on the sculpture. Speaking of his pleasure at seeing the gleaming hound, Nick Park said “I think he looks a million dollars!”
To read more about The Royal Mint’s penny-covered Gromit, visit the mint’s blog.
For more information about the mint itself please visit the website of The Royal Mint.
To learn more about the festival go to Gromit Unleashed.
And this is the official website of the famous dog and his friend: Wallace & Gromit.