Artist Alexander Stoddart donates a rare, hand-coloured plaster bust of Blessed Pope John Paul II to a hospice in Renfrewshire

World-renowned artist Alexander Stoddart has donated a rare, hand-coloured plaster bust of Blessed Pope John Paul II to St Vincent’s Hospice in Howwood, Renfrewshire.

The bust will be auctioned at the hospice’s forthcoming Heart and Soul Ball on Friday August 19 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow.

The magnificent bust, which was donated to St Vincent’s Hospice by the sculptor, is the last of only five extant copies in the world.

The remaining copies are located in the Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre in Washington DC and the University of St Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, and one other remains in the sculptor’s private collection. This remaining cast will never be replicated and St Vincent’s Hospice will benefit from every penny of the proceeds of the bust’s auction.

Mr Stoddart is a high-profile sculptor whose work has been recognised across the globe. He has produced some of the finest monuments in Scotland and has been named the Queen’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland. He was given the title in recognition of his outstanding contribution to culture. Mr Stoddart was also awarded the Freedom of Renfrewshire in 2009, the highest honour a local authority can give an individual.

Despite his international acclaim, Mr Stoddart still lives and works in Paisley and is a devoted and proud supporter and promoter of Renfrewshire as a whole.

Mr Stoddart’s youngest daughter, Iona, will deputise for her father at the forthcoming ball and will deliver a short statement on his behalf. Her father will be abroad on business at that time.

Mr Stoddart said: “It was my absolute determination to make sure that the few remaining copies of this bust be disposed of solely to charitable ends. I am delighted that St Vincent’s Hospice, a local centre of care and compassion, will benefit in some degree from the sale of this work’s last available copy.”

Brona McGee, clinical services manager of the Day Hospice Unit at St Vincent’s Hospice, said: “I had the pleasure of being invited along to Sandy’s studio to see some of his outstanding work. We are overwhelmed by his generosity in donating this piece to St Vincent’s.”