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Art for Rugby’s Sake

On display at the Museum of Rugby until March 6, 2005, was the Museum’s first ever exhibition of rugby-related sculpture.

Bonar Dunlop (1916-1992) was a rugby man and an artist. Born in Dunedin, New Zealand, he gained a close knowledge of the game in his childhood, which he later developed into striking sculptures.

In 1975, while watching a rugby match, he suddenly gained inspiration for sculpting rugby forms. The lineout caught his artistic eye and that very same evening he made his first rugby sculpture. From then on, he viewed the game both as a sculptor and as a player.

"I work in a manner which makes no concessions to trends or to self conscious idiom. You may say art for rugby's sake!" (Bonar Dunlop, 1975)

He often declared to journalists that he wanted to "awaken interest in sculpture among a public probably not previously concerned with 3D representation”.

Twelve years after his death we were very privileged to be able to display so many of these pieces together for the very first time in the first retrospective of his work.

To find out more, please follow the link to the exhibition panels.