That was the chance afforded to Pateley Bridge-based artist Joseph Hayton who found himself working on a bust of famous sculptor James Butler during live sittings at the renowned artist’s studio in Warwickshire.
And in a further coup for the 30-year-old Yorkshireman, the bronze bust that he subsequently created has been accepted into a prestigious exhibition, FACE2018, held by the Society of Portrait Sculpture at La Galleria on London’s Pall Mall between May 14 and 19.
Royal Academy of Arts member Butler is recognised as being among the foremost figurative sculptors. His monuments and memorials stand in UK cities and abroad, and for the Royal Mint he designed the 50 pence piece that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first four-minute mile by Roger Bannister.
Mr Hayton, whose own workshop is at Pateley Bridge’s King Street Workshops, was introduced to Butler through a mutual friend.
He described the experience of sculpting the artist as “nerve-wracking”, adding: “He is a man of few words but for him to say I’d done well means a great deal. If I could do just a small amount of the work he has done in his career, I’d be delighted.”