Steve Winterburn | Wisdom of the Forest

We launch Steve Winterburn's 'Wisdom of the Forest' orangutan sculpture and hear from Glyn Washington, Creative Director of Castle Fine Art, who explains why Steve is a real tour de force in the world of sculpture and bronze casting, and discusses his recent Black Panther series.



Steve Winterburn


Steve Winterburn


Steve Winterburn

Spirit of the Seas

Steve Winterburn


Steve Winterburn

Featured art: 'Wisdom of the Forest'; limited edition bronze sculpture with natural burnt orange patina, £15,000.

Creating the 'Wisdom of the Forest' orangutan

Master sculptor Steve Winterburn’s newest limited edition sculpture is a moving portrait of an orangutan, ‘Wisdom of the Forest’, a creature he respects greatly, which is reflected in this incredible piece. Steve is well-renowned for capturing the power, beauty, strength and resilience of the animals he sculpts, and his latest bronze is no exception. In a first for his collections with Castle Fine Art the sculpture is finished with a beautiful new burnt-orange patina. This expertly-applied texture is synonymous with Steve’s wildlife sculptures, with the looseness of the style and finish allowing him to express the soul of the animal.

“The way the orangutan looks after the whole family is amazing. Their wisdom is beyond great to sit with and to study, and they have a Buddha-like aura about them. They have a calm and gentle walk for a primate of their size,” Steve explains. “They have such maturity, and you get that feel of their wisdom, and it's the wisdom of the forest that I love.”

Steve has long been interested in saving the orangutan, a species in rapid decline due to the disappearance of its habitats and has spent many years working with charities to save them. This has meant he has been able to travel extensively and have first-hand encounters with some of the magnificent animals he represents in his sculptures, bringing a unique personal perspective to his creations. He believes that sculpting a creature many would never encounter can trigger a more urgent and visceral response to the problems they are facing.

What struck him most was their wisdom navigating the forest, their great strength, and immense amount of power. Steve speaks often about the royalty of the orangutan, the honour of being in their presence and the way they look after their ecosystem.


Glyn Washington discusses the work of Steve Winterburn and his Black Panther Series

Born in Coventry in 1959, it wasn’t until 1994 that Steve Winterburn turned to the art of sculpting full-time. Since then, his unrelenting work ethic and limitless imagination have made him a real tour de force in the world of sculpture and bronze casting, and I’ve seen him reach incredible milestones as a self-taught artist.

Since 2001, he has lived in Yorkshire, where a year later he founded his own studio and foundry, Yorkshire Fine Art. Born out of a desire to understand everything about his material, Steve has become a true artisan of his craft dedicated to the highly skilled, labour-intensive process of traditional lost wax bronze casting.

Typically, sculptors of Steve’s calibre entrust the casting of their work to commercial foundries; with Steve, we at Castle Fine Art are continuously rewarded by the results that can only come from the artist himself handling every aspect from creation to completion, with his astute eye and honed instinct for form and balance.

Featured art: 'Wisdom' 'Power' and 'Love', £18,950 each, striking bronze sculptures with different patinas. Also available as a set of three.

Never one to do anything by halves, Steve has travelled extensively for the reference material that affords him a deep love, respect, and reverence for the animals he sculpts. During his travels, Steve became fascinated with the way that throughout history, animals have become synonymous with mythology.

He told me about the process of creating his new Black Panther Series, revisiting the materials, bones and teeth he collected across Africa, with great respect for both the animals and people he met.

With the connection to Marvel's Black Panther and appropriately-named 'Love', 'Power'; and 'Wisdom', Steve positions animals as the superheroes of our planet, aiming to elevate them to the position of reverence and respect they deserve.

Influenced by the architecture of Egyptian tombs, the Black Panther Series developed into something more stylised than his previous sculptures, favouring simple, clean, beautiful lines over the textured style of his previous work more in keeping with the themes of Art Deco sculpture.

Steve told me: "With historical art, it doesn’t have to be about the accuracy of the animal, we have the power to give it something more, something ancient."

The Black Panther Series is a fantastic showcase of what Steve can do, not only as a skilled sculptor and foundryman but with its striking patination and colour, the result is a compelling series I can't wait to see on display in our galleries.

"With historical art, it doesn’t have to be about the accuracy of the animal, we have the power to give it something more, something ancient."

Steve Winterburn

Featured Artist

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