Barnsley based sculptor Graham Ibberson will be hosting the “Art of Comedy” at The Lavery Room in Cromwell Place, South Kensington, London. The exhibition will be held on the 6th – 8th of October 2015 and is a unique opportunity to see some of Grahams work, including rarely seen initial sketches of comedian’s Les Dawson, Norman Wisdom and the Eric Morecambe. Many well known celebrities have been invited such as Ant & Dec, Miranda Hart, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John.
Large items on display will include prototypes of the Eric Morecambe statue that has been stored away and other bronze sculptures such as Laurel and Hardy, Benny Hill and Les Dawson will also be on display.
Proceeds of the exhibition will go towards The ‘Morecambe Gets Wise’ campaign who are aiming to raise £70,000 to reunite Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise on a free-standing 10ft high bronze relief. Fundraisers hope this will be sited on Morecambe sea front and unveiled next summer to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the comedy double act’s first gig together in 1941. They aim to create a ‘Sunshine Garden of Fame’ containing plaques inscribed with the names of celebrity friends and admirers of Eric and Ernie, as well as local businesses and supporters of the project.
A special beer has been brewed ‘Morecambe’s Sunshine Ale’, created by Cross Bay Brewery that will be available to guests, as well as a specially commissioned Eric Morecambe bottle opener. The bottle opener created by House of Logos depicts a 3d character of the Eric Morecambe statue and has also been used to create a lapel pin. These have been resold to the general public with the proceeds going to the Lancaster and District Branch of the MS Society helping to bring ‘Sunshine’ into the lives of those affected by MS.
Eric Morecambe was born John Eric Bartholomew but took his stage name from his birth place ‘Morecambe’ he was part of the famous comedy duo Morecambe and Wise, Ernie Wiseman being his partner in comedy. They became one of, if not the nations favourite comedians with their Christmas Special being one of the most watched items on televisions. They also performed on more than one occasion for the Queen at the Royal Variety Show.
A fitting tribute to one of Britain’s finest comedians was the unveiling of the a larger-than-life statue of Morecambe, created by sculptor Graham Ibbeson. It was unveiled by the Queen at Morecambe in July 1999 and is surrounded by inscriptions of many of his favourite catchphrases. Attendees at the unveiling included an exhaustive list of guest stars who appeared on the show.
The statue was vandalised in October 2014, having had one of its legs sawn off, it was moved to London for repair and was restored on December 11, 2014. A model of the sawn off leg is going to be sold at the exhibition and it is hoped to raise a significant amount, this will go towards the cost of producing a new Eric and Ernie bronze sculpture.