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A close up of the top half of the Drummer sculpture showing his face and hand with the drumstick

The Drummer

We're giving Tim Shaw’s sculpture The Drummer a temporary home whilst the redevelopment of the Hall for Cornwall in Truro takes place. Come along and see it giving a dramatic welcome to visitors in our Outer Estate.

Tim Shaw

Tim Shaw
The Drummer, 2009

Cornwall - a place where the drum beats differently. 

This sculpture, commissioned by Cornwall Council, stood in Truro’s Lemon Quay from 2011 until 2018. It is being exhibited at the Eden Project while the Hall for Cornwall in Truro is refurbished. 

The Drummer is inspired by the spirit of steely resilience of Cornwall’s people; men and boys that mined tin for generations in the heat and darkness below ground level, the fishermen that battle against the sea and all the Cornish men, women and children that fought for survival for generations - life out on the edge was perhaps harsh for everyone.  It is exactly this steely resilience that The Drummer celebrates as it forces a mighty blow upon the drum. 

The ball on which the figure balances relates to the sea, Earth and the bright moon that shines across expansive night skies. The composition originates from an installation entitled La Corrida ~ Dreams in Red. The decision to use the ball was inspired by Lemon Quay’s circular paving design, which refers to the tidal water beneath it. The ball suggests both a sea buoy and the globe across which a great many Cornish people migrated to find work.

A view of the drummer, a sculpture of a man beating a drum on top of a sphere

The sculpture is cast in bronze, an alloy composed of copper and tin.

The Drummer inspiration

The Drummer cast contains both an ingot of Cornish tin and of Cornish copper which were symbolically thrown into the crucible during the smelting process. The emblem of the lamb and flag embossed upon the drum represents purity and refers to Truro’s past as a stannary town where tin was weighed, stamped and sold.

The Drummer brings a sense of the rural community to the heart of the county as it celebrates the rhythm and beat that drives many Cornish festivities: the Helston Floral, Penzance’s Mazey day, St Just’s Lafrowda, that most primal and magical of rites, The Padstow Obby Oss and more recently, Truro’s winter city lights.

About the artist

Contemporary visual artist and sculptor Tim Shaw was born in Belfast in 1964. Educated in Belfast, Dublin and Enniskillen, he began modelling with clay in school and decided to become a sculptor at the age of 15 after discovering a book on Rodin in a local bookshop.

Tim Shaw studied art at Manchester Polytechnic and Falmouth School of Art, and after a brief period working as a conservator of buildings and sculpture, decided to devote himself fully to creating sculpture. He lives on a farm in Cornwall, UK where he has had his home and studios for over 30 years.

Find out more information on Tim Shaw's website

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