Richard Rome (b. 1943) studied at St Albans School of Art and Chelsea School of Art. He taught in Brighton and Walthamstow before becoming senior lecturer at Canterbury College of Art in 1977. After two years as course leader in site-specific sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art, in 1991 he was appointed tutor in bronze-casting at the Royal College of Art, where he designed and oversaw the construction of a new foundry. He retired fom teaching in 2008 and the following year was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Art. Rome has exhibited his sculpture regularly since 1964. His Millennium Fountain was inaugurated in Wimbledon’s Cannizaro Park in 2001, and in 2010 he made iron sculptures at Sculpture Trails at Solsberry, near Bloomington, Indiana, USA. Martin Holman’s over-view of Rome’s forty-year career, entitled Richard Rome, was published by Lund Humphries in 2011.
Rome’s BAMS medal shows two contrasting kinds of apple. The obverse depicts an episode in the eleventh labour of the legendary Hercules (although, as Rome warns, there are various versions of this labour, some even suggesting that the golden apples were in fact oranges). The scene, the artist writes, is ‘a moment after Hercules has killed the dragon Ladon (not shown) in the garden of the Hesperides. He has picked some apples from Hera’s golden apple tree and put them in a bowl and is now resting, contemplating his work. Mount Atlas is in the distance with the setting sun. Hercules finally selected three apples and gave them to Eurystheus, who handed them back for Hercules to give to Athena, who in turn gave them back to the nymphs [the Hesperides].’ By contrast, the medal’s reverse is taken from Picasso’s plaster apple of 1909, a work that has always interested Rome, ‘for its radical interpretation of an established still-life object and as perhaps the first experiment in a cubist sculptural form’.