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Work by Norfolk artist takes centre stage with million-selling rock group

PUBLISHED: 19:48 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 19:51 15 February 2018

Sculptor Mitchell House in his studio at Alby Crafts and Gardens. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sculptor Mitchell House in his studio at Alby Crafts and Gardens. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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Work by a Norfolk artist is capturing the imaginations of the rich and famous, with one of his pieces flown to Hollywood by a keen collector and another going on a world tour with a million-selling electronic rock group.

Bronzes by sculptor Mitchell House. Photo: KAREN BETHELLBronzes by sculptor Mitchell House. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Mitchell House, who has a studio and gallery at Alby Crafts and Gardens, near Aylsham, works part-time teaching sculpture to students whose ages range from 16, to in their sixties.

For the rest of the week, however, he works on commissions which have ranged from major installations, to scaled down sculptures of people’s pets.

Mitchell House's sculpture Girl on a Swing, which has been flown to Beverley Hills by an American collector. Photo: Mitchell HouseMitchell House's sculpture Girl on a Swing, which has been flown to Beverley Hills by an American collector. Photo: Mitchell House

After studying fine art in his home city of Leicester, Mr House, 59, founded his own church restoration business.

Employing a team of 12, he did jobs ranging from stone carving, to steeplejacking, before taking a job teaching further education students as head of art at a Midlands college.

He and his wife Sue decided to up sticks and move to Norfolk in 1996 and both began teaching art to young people and adults with learning difficulties, at the same time running a forge from their home at Baconsthorpe, near Holt.

Commissions have included a bust of eccentric British racing driver Tim Birkin, who is buried at Blakeney, and an ironwork clock for Holt department store Bakers and Larners, to two 4ft high memorial crosses which were shipped to Texas and Norway and a bronze of pet fish belonging to a Japanese woman who wanted to see “every scale”.

An almost life-size bronze of a girl on a swing – which was inspired by Mr House’s daughter Amy – was recently spotted by the millionaire owner of an American hotel chain, who, in spite of the fact that the figure weighed 143kg, flew it to his home in Beverley Hills.

“I have had some pretty unusual requests over the years,” Mr House said. “But probably one of the most surprising was one from The Prodigy.”

The electronic rock group’s drummer, Liam Howlett, wanted a pair of scrap metal Mad Max-style keyboard stands for a world tour.

“I am a bit of a fan, so I was really chuffed.” Mr House said. “We even got a signed sketch.”

Now working on a major commission for a Norfolk tourist attraction, Mr House says that, to him, art is “like breathing”.

“I am just grateful to be able to use the skills I have been given, and if I’m not working on a piece of art, I’m thinking about art,” he said. To find out about sculpture courses, or to see more of Mitchell House’s work, visit www.mitchell-house.co.uk

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