Sydney family donates sculpture to RPA
Bronze baby sculpture finds a new home at RPA on Mother’s Day
Renowned Australian craftsman Alan Crawford has donated a bronze sculpture of a baby to RPA just in time for Mother’s Day.
The Crawford family has special ties with RPA.
“My wife, Barbara, had our twins in the old King George V Hospital in 1976.
“We had a little boy, Matthew and a little girl Elizabeth. We’ve kept the cards on which the doctors and nurses recorded their date and time of birth, weight and length.
“They’re all grown-up now. They’re turning 43 this year,” Alan said.
Alan and Barbara approached RPA about donating a bronze sculpture which depicts a baby girl resting on a marble pillow.
It was one of the first works he helped to create for sculptor Esther Belliss after he set up his fine arts foundry, Crawford’s Casting, in Sydney more than 40 years ago.
Alan has since been involved in designing many well-known monuments in Sydney.
They include the diggers on the ANZAC Bridge, Henry Parkes in Centennial Park and nine of the 12 figures that surround the Sydney Cricket Ground and the soon-to be rebuilt football stadium.
Alan also cast the life-size bronze of heart surgeon Dr Victor Chang, which is outside the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute at Darlinghurst.
“The bronze baby is a beautiful piece. It’s been lovingly modelled,” Alan said.
He cast three of the sculptures in the late 1980s, using a traditional bronze casting technique that goes back thousands of years, and kept one of the sculptures as payment.
It’s been at the Crawford’s family home at Petersham ever since.
“It’s been at our home for a long time. But I always thought that it belonged in a hospital. It felt like that was the right place for it,” Alan’s wife Barbara said.
The sculpture, and the marble pillow on which the baby rests, which was later created by sculptor Dan Lake, has now been installed at the entrance to the maternity ward at RPA.
“You can touch it. You can feel it. It’s not like looking at a painting on a wall. I’m hoping patients, visitors and staff get as much enjoyment out of it as we did,” Alan said.
Jan White, the Clinical Manager for Women's Health, Neonatology and Paediatrics at RPA said the donation showed the strength of the connection RPA has built with families over decades.
“For most, having a baby is a momentous day. It’s a very special memory. It stays with parents for the rest of their lives.
“The Crawford family’s decision to donate the sculpture makes me think about the hospital’s history and the people who have come to us – every one of them has their own connections to us,” she said.
Dr Robert Ogle, Director of RPA Women and Babies, thanked the Crawford family for donating the sculpture to the hospital.
“The sculpture has been placed at the entrance to RPA’s maternity ward. I’m sure everyone will take great pleasure from viewing it,” he said.
The inscription on plaque on the sculpture reads: “A tribute to all the babies born at King George V Memorial Hospital for Mothers and Babies and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.”
That includes Alan and Barbara’s own children – plus the now several thousand babies who are born at RPA every year.
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