David Petersen (sculptor)

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David Petersen (born 1944) is a Welsh sculptor, cultural commentator and television presenter based in St. Clears, Carmarthenshire. He is particularly known for his metal sculptures of dragons.[1]

Red Dragon, Cardiff University (1984)

Petersen was born in Cardiff in 1944, the son of Jack Petersen (1911–1990), a boxer who held the British Heavyweight title on two occasions.[2]

Petersen worked in the GKN steelworks in Cardiff before studying fine art at Newport College of Art (1961–1965).[1] He is an elected member of the Royal Cambrian Academy,[3] and has served as chairman of the British Artist Blacksmiths Association.[1]

For several years Petersen led the Welsh delegation to the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany. He resigned from the festival committee in 2008 in protest at the content of the Welsh pavilion.[4]

Petersen's sons Aaron, Toby and Gideon are sculptors who sometimes work collaboratively with their father.[3]

Major works[edit]

Statue of Howard Winstone, 2001 (detail)

Mametz Wood Memorial (1987)[edit]

The Mametz Wood memorial commemorates an action of the 38th (Welsh) Division of the British Army during the First Battle of the Somme in 1916. The memorial, located on the site of the action in northern France, is of a large red dragon holding barbed wire, mounted on a stone plinth.[5]

Coal, Steel and Water (1989)[edit]

A steel sculpture mounted on polished granite located in the foyer of County Hall, Cardiff. Commissioned by Allied Steel and Wire as a gift to South Glamorgan County Council.[6]

National Millennium Beacon (1999)[edit]

Together with his sons, Petersen won a competition to make the National Millennium Beacon for the millennium celebrations.[7] The large stainless steel sculpture was erected on the porch of Cardiff City Hall.[8]

Postage stamp (1999)[edit]

Petersen designed the definitive issue of the Welsh second class postage stamp, which features a leek carved from wood. Petersen's sons Tony and Gideon designed the first class stamp which features a dragon.[9][10]

Howard Winstone (2001)[edit]

A bronze statue of the world champion boxer Howard Winstone (1939–2000), located in a shopping centre in Merthyr Tydfil.[11]


Petersen is also known as a television presenter on historical and cultural topics. His work includes Stop, Look, Listen: Tales from Wales (Channel 4, 2002) and When the Romans Came to Wales (Channel 4, 2003).[12][13]

Political activity[edit]

Petersen was a Plaid Cymru candidate in the 1999 National Assembly election for the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency. He gained 2356 votes, 8.1% of the overall vote.[2][14]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wyke, Terry; Cocks, Harry (2004). Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester. Liverpool University Press. p. 457. ISBN 9780853235675. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Petersen, David (1999). Your vote for Brecon and Radnorshire (election leaflet).  archived in "The Welsh Political Archive". National Library of Wales. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "David Peterson (sic.)". RCA Members. Royal Cambrian Academy. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Griffiths, Gwyn (11 February 2008). "Welsh delegate resigns from Lorient Festival Committee" (Press release). Cardiff. Agence Bretagne Presse. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Buckingham, Mike (16 April 2015). "'Pilgrims' visit site of Gwent soldiers' Great War victory". South Wales Argus. Newport, Wales: Newsquest. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Coal, Steel and Water". Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Millennium beacon ready for big night". BBC. 29 December 1999. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "National Millennium Beacon". Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "Pictorial Regionals". GBStamps. Retrieved 15 April 2015. [self-published source]
  10. ^ "The Awards Trophy". St David's Awards. Welsh Government. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Statue of Howard Winstone". Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  12. ^ Buss, Robin (17 May 2002). "Television: Pick of the week". TES Connect. Retrieved 16 April 2015. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Buss, Robin (19 September 2003). "Television: Pick of the week". TES Connect. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Vote 99 – Wales constituencies and regions". BBC. Retrieved 15 April 2015.