Zabeel set to be immortalised in bronze

FOOTSTEPS: Local artist Nicola Jain Lewis with her 30cm clay sculpture of Zabeel. Her father Rick Lewis produced a bronze of Zabeel’s father Sir Tristram 30 years ago. 
Luke Verschaffelt
FOOTSTEPS: Local artist Nicola Jain Lewis with her 30cm clay sculpture of Zabeel. Her father Rick Lewis produced a bronze of Zabeel’s father Sir Tristram 30 years ago. 

Hundreds of hours of work are on the verge of paying off for Cambridge artist Nicola Jain Lewis, with the completion of a sculpture of thoroughbred Zabeel.

The 30cm clay horse is the result of a year's work and is the first sculpture for the artist, who is a trained painter. Now that the prototype is complete, the work will be cast in bronze for a limited edition of 300.

Lewis' attention to detail and many hours spent checking and rechecking her work against photos of Zabeel and horse anatomy books have ensured the statue received the seal of approval from the man who knows the famous horse the best - Sir Patrick Hogan.

Showing her work to Sir Patrick was "nerve-wracking", according to Lewis, but the renowned thoroughbred breeder was thrilled with the results.

"As soon as I saw it, I said ‘that is Zabeel'," he said.

"I was very happy with the first showing and recommended some minor ‘tweaking', and then at the second and final look I gave it the big ‘OK'."

Nicola's father, Rick Lewis, produced a bronze of Zabeel's father, Sir Tristram, in much the same way 30 years ago, and Nicola is proud to follow in his footsteps.

She is keen to learn more about the bronzing technique that will be undertaken in Auckland before the end of the year.

A silicone mould will be made from the clay sculpture, which will then be used to make a wax mould. Once the quality of the mould has been checked, the bronzes will be produced then mounted on to a black granite base, with a plaque and an accompanying book.

Zabeel, who retired from stud duties at the end of last year, has been responsible for more than 1000 individual winners, 100 Group One winners and 43 individual Group One winners since he started stud duties in 1991.

Nicola is delighted that her sculpture will stand alongside her father's to immortalise Zabeel - a fitting recognition for a remarkable horse.

Waikato Times