'I normally create a maquette before attempting life-size, but I was young (as a sculptor) and impetuous. Besides, I had already created several tiny figures at the King Edward VI School in Southampton where I was artist in residence, plus a half-life size of the fellows in the States.
Allies sat on Bond Street for several years when the Catto Gallery in Hampstead asked me for a maquette, thinking to sell them. There wasn't one, I told them. They asked if I would create one, suggesting an edition of 50. Madness. Gill Catto's husband, also at this lunch-with-wine meeting, offered to buy No. 1, so I started on it with the caveat from Mrs Catto that it be exactly quarter life-size the one on Bond Street, no variation, no improvements. I agreed. Barlow Tyree, which supplied the big bench, created an exact quarter size bench. I modeled two unclothed clay figures and paused, stumped: how was I to create a life-size without having my life-size in front of me?
My wife Julia's answer: get in the VW bus. She drove me, plus table, chair, tools, clay and the little bench from our Isle of Wight home to London. And she set it all before the life-size monument on Bond Street and I got to work. 'Are you an art-student?' (Do I look like a student?) 'Have you the artist's permission?' (The artist is dead). 'How about the City of Westminster?' (I'll be gone before they catch me.)'
Correspondence with the artist, 2013.