Throughout his illustrious sculpting career, Tom has depicted many of the world’s most famous dancers, including Thomas Edur, Dame Alicia Markova, Dame Beryl Grey, Dame Antoinette Sibley, Marguerite Porter, Wayne Sleep and Sir Anthony Dowell to name but a few.
His reputation as a world class artistic talent has lead to him amassing a huge number of incredibly high profile collectors including:
- Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Tina Turner
- Sir Lawrence Olivier
- Sir Ian McKellen
- Dame Judy Dench
- Barbara Windsor
- Helena Bonham Carter
- Joanna Lumley
- Angela Rippon; and many more
Running from April 2nd until May 1st this year, 'A Life in the Arts' explores the incredible talent of a man who has excelled in numerous aspects of an all too often secretive and revered world. Covering his entire life from his humble beginnings in Australia, through to present day this exhibition will inform, thrill and thoroughly satisfy lovers of dance and sculpture alike.
Born in 1933 in Sydney, Australia, Merrifield trained as a classical dancer and at the age of sixteen became the youngest lead soloist with the Borovansky Ballet. Three years later he moved to Britain where he danced with the English National Ballet, enjoying an incredibly successful career in this challenging discipline.
Throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s Tom was principal dancer in many of the most successful West End musicals to date including ‘On The Town’, ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Showboat’ and at the pinnacle of his career was the highest paid dancer in the UK.
During this distinguished and rewarding career, Tom began drawing and sculpting without any formal art training and eventually took this up as a full-time occupation, looking back only for inspiration in his new passion. He has since gone on to be formally recognised as a major living artist and one of the finest sculptors of his generation, being given the incredible accolade of ARBS for Distinction in the Art of Sculpture by the Royal Society of British Sculptors.
In 1976 Tom was commissioned by the Society for West End Theatres to create the sculpture given to the winners of The Olivier Awards (then named the SWET Awards). For the next eight years he would spend months preparing the numerous pieces required for each ceremony which so many of theatre’s top talent now hold in pride of place on their mantelpieces.
Possibly the most poignant of sculptures Tom has created to date is that depicting Diana, Princess of Wales. Having met and connected instantly with the Princess long before she died, Tom was considered by the British Red Cross to be best suited to create an exquisite bust of their former patron; now displayed at the Red Cross headquarters in London.
Tom has gone on to become internationally celebrated for the power and beauty of his sculptures, many of which now grace prominent public spaces around the world. He has also been awarded substantial, lucrative commissions by the likes of Hilton Group, Speedo, The British Red Cross and Reebok.
Click here to download the Exhibition Brochure.
Click here to watch a video of Tom discussing his sculpture.