Commissioning Process


It starts with an idea.

Anyone can commission a piece of work, be it a bust, or a sculpture. It could be a portrait of themselves, or of someone else, as a gift, or even to commemorate an event.    Whatever the reason, and whoever the subject, this is an exciting project ahead.

The first step is to make contact with Melanie by email. You may have a clear plan of what you want, or more likely, you need to talk through a number of ideas that will need to be pulled together. Melanie’s experience and expertise will help you move towards a final plan. You will discuss such things as the size of the piece, whether it will be head only, larger than life-size, shoulders to be included, etc., and importantly, what you want from the piece.

Sometimes a meeting will be  arranged to view the location where the piece is to be sited. And, of course, Melanie should meet the subject.

Client at work

After the opening discussion, a date is fixed for sculptor and subject to meet.

It is preferably in their own environment, whether relaxed at home, or at work. At this time, sketches, photos and many measurements are taken.

It is important to capture the personal stance, characteristics and idiosyncrasies for the portrait.


Back at the studio the first stage is to rough out the bust in clay, working from the sketches, measurements and photos.

Client and bust in progress

The subject then has a sitting of about 2 hrs. This could take place at the subject’s home depending on location and  circumstances, or at the  studio.

Further sittings follow as necessary.  A rule of thumb would be 4 sittings of  a couple of hours each – although some larger portraits may take longer.

Once everyone is happy with the clay bust the first stage of the portrait is completed.


The next stage involves the foundry and decisions about finishes and mounts.

Below are two examples of a  limited edition bust illustrating different patinas. There are infinite finishes possible – the final effect comes down to a conversation between Melanie, the client, and  the foundry.

Different patina finishes
Different patina finishes


After the initial conversation with the client the cost of the piece will depend on a number of varying  factors such as:

  • size required
  • travel (if sittings take place at the subject’s pace of work/home)
  • final cast material
  • plinth, or other support.
  • delivery

A quote will be submitted for the finished piece, cast and mounted as required.

It is usual to pay a third of the total cost at the start of the project. The second tranche would be before the casting stage, and the final tranche on delivery of the completed portrait.

Please contact if you have any further questions

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