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.

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

Find out more on the Tim Shaw website