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24 October 2016 | St Albans, UK [Victor Hulbert]

Visitors to the Trans-European Division office in St Albans, England, often comment on the striking fiberglass sculpture portraying the three angels of Revelation 14. Designed by Adventist sculptor, Alan Collins, it has become an iconic St Albans landmark ever since the building was constructed in 1964.

The sculpture is just one of Collins’ many religious works of art to be found both in the UK and America, created in a life that spanned 88 years. He called his art, ‘silent sermons’ portraying, as they do, biblical narratives.

Collins passed to his rest on Tuesday, 18 October in Dorchester, England, following several years of poor health. The officers and staff of the Trans-European Division join with religious institutions such as Guilford Cathedral, Andrews, La Sierra, Loma Linda and Oakwood Universities, and many other places, in mourning his passing. His memory will live on through the sculptures found in prominent places on their campuses.

1. Alan & Aliki Collins; 2. lime stone for the griffin to half eagle and lion above the doorway of Grays Inn in London; 'The First Advent' a symbolic sculpture on the campus of Atlantic Union College, South Lancaster, Massachusetts; 4. Located on the campus of Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, 'The Good Samaritan' typifies the mission of the university. (photos: Gleanernow.com) 

Born on 15 August 1928 in Beddington, Surrey, Collins developed his artistic skills from a young age, often finding it easier to express himself through visual images than through language. He studied at the Wimbledon School of Art and while there he won first prize in a national contest - a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, London. There he studied sculpture.

Collins also developed a lifelong connection to the Adventist Church after having attended a series of meetings by Australian evangelist Thomas J. Bradley in Croydon, England. He became part of the Holloway church family where he met and married his first wife Jeanne Fuegi in 1954. They had a daughter, Marianne, a son Mark Alan, and grandchildren Pierce and Reese. Jeanne died in 1992 after a five-year illness.

Among Collins most recognised works are numerous sculptures throughout Guildford Cathedral, and the John F Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede. In 1964 the Royal Society for the Arts awarded him the Sir Otto Beit award for his stone carving of St Martha of Bethany at Guildford Cathedral.

1. Alan Collins puts a finishing touch on the clay model of 'Sacrificial Service', a sculpture for Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama; 2. Using a bit of clay and a light touch, Alan completes the model of the sculpture depicting Simon of Cyrene lifting the cross from Jesus.

In 1968 Collins moved to the United States where, for more than 20-years he taught at Seventh-day Adventist universities, including Atlantic Union College (1968–1971), Andrews University (1971–1978) and La Sierra University (1978–1989). Post retirement he moved to Phoenix, Oregon, continuing to create his own works in bronze, wood, clay, concrete and stone. He also conducted lectures and showed his work at Adventist colleges.  He married Aliki Athanasiou Grivas Snow in 1993 at the Pacific Adventist church in California and became stepfather to Demetri, Nicholas and Philip Snow, and step-grandfather to Alex, Andrew, Sebastian and Ciara Snow.

Collins moved back to England in 2013, living in Bridport, Dorset until his death. Our condolences go to his wife, Aliki, his children and step-children and their families, and all those very many who were close to him.

Nathan Greene: The blessed hopeIt was not only through his art that Alan expressed his spiritual feeling but through his deep abiding faith during his long and painful time of ill-health. He was both modest in his work and in his manner. With his love of art and the scriptures, Nathan Greene’s painting, ‘The blessed hope’ touched his heart. His family and friends pray that such art can inspire all who see it and be the ‘silent sermon’ that moves them towards faith in Jesus and the hope of his soon return.

Following a private cremation, a memorial service is being held in his home to celebrate the life of this lovely, gentle, man who looked forward to his vision becoming a reality. [tedNEWS]

For more on Alan Collins see:
A Sculptor's Journey’ from The Gleaner, 2005
Alan Collins on Wikipedia.


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, director; Esti Pujic, editor
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