‘If I have a dream, I just go along with it’ - tributes paid to Wymondham artist Bruce Lacey who worked with The Beatles and built a small army of robots

Bruce Lacey, actor turned artist, photographed in 2005. Photo: Archant

Bruce Lacey, actor turned artist, photographed in 2005. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant © 2005

He was a man who worked with The Beatles, built a small army of robots and had his sculptures displayed at the Tate.

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Wymondham artist Bruce Lacey, who died on Thursday aged 88, lived a life that was anything but dull.

The eccentric, who had lived at Brentwood Farm since the late 1960s, had a varied and successful career working as a musician, artist, comedian, inventor and performer.

In a statement, his family said: 'Most artists tend to stick to one discipline but dad was always prepared to try new things, to push ideas, materials and boundaries.

'As he would put it, he would metamorphosise through his life and work, and often, in this respect, he was ahead of his time.

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'At times, he may have flirted with fame but he was never seduced by it. His legacy and his influence can be seen through other generations of artists.

'Others may emulate, but there will only ever be one Bruce Lacey.'

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Mr Lacey was born in 1927 and grew up in Lewisham, south-east London, with his father, who was a house painter, and milliner mother.

From a young age he had dreamed of being a fighter pilot, but was turned down by the Fleet Air Arm for not being 'officer-pilot material'.

Bruce Lacey with his Electric Actors from 1962 at Norwich Arts Centre in 2007. Photo: Archant

Bruce Lacey with his Electric Actors from 1962 at Norwich Arts Centre in 2007. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant © 2007

Instead, he trained as a Royal Navy electrical mechanic.

But it was after contracting tuberculosis on a training ship in 1944 that Mr Lacey discovered the world of art.

During his 18 months in hospital he spent a lot of his time painting and subsequently enrolled at the Royal College of Art.

His introduction to television came when his family took in a lodger who worked in the props department of Associated Rediffusion and recognised Mr Lacey's creative talents.

He made a short silent movie in the sixties with Peter Sellers. Pictured 'Boy, Oh Boy, am I Living!'

He made a short silent movie in the sixties with Peter Sellers. Pictured 'Boy, Oh Boy, am I Living!' by Bruce Lacey, 1964. - Credit: Archant © 2005

He was invited to make props for the Goon Show, which starred Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, when it moved from radio to TV.

And further collaboration with the pair led to Mr Lacey's most famous big screen role, when he appeared as George Harrison's gardener in The Beatles movie Help! in 1965.

He was most famous for his bizarre robot creations, one of which was the best man at his wedding.

One of his first automatons, named Rosa Bosom, was kept alongside various dummies and robots at his home near Wymondham.

Bruce Lacey pictured in 1957 'The Running, Jumping, Standing, Still Film'.

Bruce Lacey pictured in 1957 'The Running, Jumping, Standing, Still Film'. - Credit: Archant © 2005

And two others, called Boy, O Boy, Am I Living! and The Womaniser were displayed at the Tate Modern in London.

Mr Lacey, who has nine children, continued to take part in art exhibitions in Norfolk well into his eighties.

•Would you like to pay tribute to Bruce Lacey? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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