More on sculptors: Nigel Konstam

For He Had Great Possessions

Amy Drucker. For He Had Great Possessions. 1932.

Ireland’s connections with sculptors extended forwards from Percy Bentham in the 1930s to Nigel Konstam (b. 1932) in the early 1960s. The latter came to know John Ireland via his father and mother, Dr Geoffrey (1899–1962) and Lorna Konstam (also a trained medic). The older Konstams often visited the composer at Rock Mill while travelling between London and Angmering, the doctor having treated Ireland for his heart condition and remaining friendly with him. Konstam was both a renowned London physician and a lover of art. This painting above, for example, he donated to the London Jewish Museum of Art in 1952.

The Konstams’ son Nigel trained as a sculptor, establishing an Arts Centre near Siena: As a young artist he made a portrait bronze of Ireland in 1960. To this end he held portrait sessions in the mill, remembering the composer as having a statue of a small satyr, ‘of which he was very fond’ (letter to the author, 1993). Konstam’s portrait adds to the diverse images of John Ireland. It was sold to the composer’s friend, John Longmire.

Konstam bustThe final part of this story is that Bruce Phillips (of the John Ireland Trust) visited Mrs Longmire at her house in Cobo, Guernsey at some point in the early 1990s. She had arranged for him to stay at Cothills, a convent overlooking St Peter Port and drove him round the island. She very kindly offered Konstam’s bust to the Trust, and Bruce subsequently carried it back to the mainland.


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