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Foundation Monument – The making of a Tiger

The club can share some of the first images of the Foundation Monument which will be constructed as part of the on-going hotel development at Mattioli Woods Welford Road

The gallery above showcases the evolution of the concept design and sculptural work undertaken by Monument designer Harvey Gardiner and artist Steve Winterburn.

The bronze tiger head – will stand approximately 18 feet high on a plinth incorporating a series of commemorative plaques.

The plaques will feature the names of the fallen Tigers players, as well as the names of those who have donated and supported the project through the club's limited-edition Leicester Tigers Foundation crowns.

Take a look at our gallery above and read about the process below as Harvey a long-time Tigers fan explains…

Concept Design
The original concept design ideas evolved out of the long-standing close relationship between the Leicester Tigers and the Leicestershire regiment.

“Come on the tigers” the phrase shouted when going over the top in the WWI is often heard as an inspirational chant on the terraces at the stadium over the years. 

Budget constraints and the impact of Covid-19 bought about a re-design and, through this process, a fitting tribute was born to remember the Tigers players that lost their lives in the first and second world war.

Drawing courage and inspiration from the players that gave there lives, the monument also aims to connect with future generations to participate and get involved through the sport of rugby and the great work of the Leicester Tigers Foundation across all communities. 

Sculpting the Maquettes

A series of artistic sketch ideas took place which resulted in the new design being sculpted in wax to establish and prove the creative principals, positional aspect, heights, and dimensions. 

Sculpting the Tiger

The sculpting of the full size Tiger head was now ready to take place. Based on the detailed preparatory sketches and research into the pose of the Tiger, the head was carved in wax on a foam substrate. 

Forming the mould

The wax of the head is now laid up with silicone rubber into different sections backed up with fibre glass supporting jackets.

Lost wax is poured into the fibre glass moulds and then prepared for casting. The lost waxes are then coated in 12 layers of shell casting. Once completed the ceramics are burnt out to remove the lost wax from the ceramic shell.

Pouring the mould

Each individual ceramic mould is then poured with bronze heated to about 1200 degrees c. The bronze plates are hand cleaned off, shot blasted and prepared for construction.

Constructing the plates

Once cleaned off the bronze plates are hand assembled and welded together and fixed to a bespoke internal steel armature. It’s now for the first time that you get a feel for how the actual bronze statue is taking shape.

Several processes later including, grinding, welding, and chasing you can start to feel the excitement as the sculpture evolves, comes to life and is hand crafted towards its final form.