An afternoon with internationally celebrated artist Michael Sandle RA

– Posted on Friday 8th March 2024

On Saturday 16 March, Manx National Heritage will host a fascinating talk by internationally acclaimed sculptor Michael Sandle RA to celebrate the launch of his new book ‘Michael Sandle Works on Paper’.

The book presents Michael Sandle’s two-dimensional work from his early years whilst training at Douglas School of Art, right up to the present day. Alongside lithographs and etchings, it shows pages from his sketchbooks and many medium and larger format drawings.

‘Michael Sandle Works on Paper’ begins with a new and extensive ‘in conversation interview with’ Sandle and the art historian and curator Jon Wood that looks in detail at the interconnected lives led by his prints, drawings and sculptures over the last sixty years. Their discussion focusses on the materials and techniques the artist has used, as well as on the subjects, concerns and contexts of this extraordinary body of work.

The book cover features one of his latest ink drawings ‘Sculptural Rock Formations on the Isle of Man’.  The drawing will be officially donated to the Manx National Art Collection at the event.  After the talk Michael Sandle will be available in the National Art Gallery at the Manx Museum to sign copies of the book, which are available to purchase at the Manx Museum Shop.

To discover more, come along to ‘An Afternoon with Michael Sandle’ at the Manx Museum Lecture Theatre on Saturday 16 March.  Doors open at 2pm for a 2.30pm start.  To book your free ticket, visit



Notes for Editors:

Michael Sandle was born in Weymouth and moved to the Isle of Man in 1942, after their family home was bombed during the Second World War. His father served in the Royal Navy and his father had been stationed on the Island.  Sandle studied at the Douglas School of Art from 1951 to 1954. He left the Isle of Man in 1954 serving two years National Service in the Royal Artillery, during which time he was also able to attend evening classes at Chester College of Art. Sandle later studied printmaking at the Slade School of Fine Art, London for three years followed by a period travelling in Europe.

Sandle has taught in various art schools and universities in Britain, Canada and Germany and from 1980 was the Professor of Sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Karlsruhe, Germany. He has now retired from teaching and lives in England.

Sandle’s early work is considered to emphasise craftsmanship and the search for symbols. This has not changed, but the scale and monumentality of his works has dramatically increased over the past 40 years. Sandle’s sculptures and prints, although radically different in size and medium, often reflect similar themes of war, death, destruction, inhumanity and media manipulation. Often these themes are seen to their greatest and most dramatic effect in his public commissions, for example the Memorial of the Victims of a Helicopter Disaster, Mannheim (1985) and the architecture and sculpture for the Malta Siege Memorial (1989-93). This was a vast project which included not only a major figurative sculpture, but also a thirteen-tonne bronze bell.

The often violent military images found in Sandle’s work are not intended to glorify war but to highlight what the artist sees as ‘the heroic decadence’ of capitalism, in particular its appetite for global conflict. His art attacks the media for its packaging and sanitising of the destructiveness of war. This sense of outrage was illustrated in 1986 by his production of the Belgrano Medal – a Medal of Dishonour, a bronze medal depicting Margaret Thatcher as a death’s head labelled ‘Shameless Empress’.

Michael Sandle was elected to the Royal Academy in 1989 but resigned in 1998 (with other Royal Academicians) in protest against the controversial ‘Sensation’ exhibition. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1994 and was re-elected to the Royal Academy in 2004.


Image caption: ‘Sculptural Rock Formations on the Isle of Man’ by Michael Sandle RA

Manx National Heritage Media contact:

Lynsey Clague BA (Hons) MCIPR

Communications Manager – Manx National Heritage

T: 01624 648032


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