YORKSHIRE sculptor and artist Harold Gosney's 80th birthday is being marked with a celebratory exhibition at the Stained Glass Centre, St Martin cum Gregory Church, St Martin's Lane, York, until October 1.

More than 60 years of creative work is on display under the title of My Life As An Artist in this "unique opportunity to view the only art pieces Gosney has ever chosen to sell".

After holding exhibitions in Ripon, Grimsby and Scunthorpe between 2013 and 2016, Gosney's new retrospective brings together a wide range of sculptures, drawings and paintings, including work never exhibited until now.

Vera Pavlova, curator at York Art Gallery, says: "I'm delighted that visitors to St Martin Cum Gregory have the chance to see more of Harold Gosney's art work in this unprecedented display. Harold's two sculptures on display at York Art Gallery are hugely popular and it's very exciting to see more of Harold's work, some of which has never been on public display before."

Born in Sheffield, Gosney studied at Grimsby School of Art and London’s Slade School of Fine Art, and the exhibition displays some rarely-seen examples of his early designs for theatre.

Gosney has worked in wood and copper with his favourite themes being birds, horses and the female form. He developed a distinctive technique for working with sheet metal in three dimensions, exemplified by the life-size Horse And Rider, now permanently on display at Normanby Hall in North Lincolnshire.

The artist reveals how his approach has changed over the years: "My first sculptures in the early Sixties were in stone and were considerably inspired by the work of Henry Moore," he says. "When I experimented, first with cold cast metal and later with welding in steel and copper, I carried out a number of abstract pieces.

"However, I soon needed a different challenge and returned to work that was derived from observation and drawing, mostly inspired by human and animal forms. My work, whilst not overtly realistic, aims to consider the essence of the subject."

Preliminary and working drawings in the show illustrate the detailed artistic and technical development of the sculptural pieces, prompting Keith Barley, director of Barley Stained Glass Studios, to say: "It is rare that one can fully appreciate the foundations, techniques and problem solving that underpin a final work of art.

"Harold’s documented procedures reveal a fascinating insight into the design, development and craft of producing his works. These preparatory drawings are works of art that add immensely to the appreciation and enjoyment of the final pieces exhibited."

A number of Gosney’s commissioned works are in the public domain, notably at York Art Gallery, or on permanent display in places such as Ripon Cathedral and Chester Cathedral. The majority of his early commissions were collaborations with architects and can still be seen in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

Architect Lee Holmes comments: "Harold has always been very keen to make work which is accessible and imbued with meaning. We have enjoyed working together on a number of commissions for churches, producing sculptural pieces which have become an intrinsic part of their architectural setting and adding an extra dimension to the buildings in question."

Hosted by the Stained Glass Trust, My Life As An Artist is open daily from 11am to 4pm until October 1; admission is free. Special tours by the artist for groups can be arranged by emailing haroldfgosney@gmail.com for further information.