Ben H. Carpenter had a vision. His vision was to transform his
family’s ranch, fondly named El Ranchito de Las Colinas, meaning
the Little Ranch of the Hills, into a world class development.
Las Colinas would be transformed from the open grassland of the
past into an urbanized community for a new generation of Texans.
Mr. Carpenter was determined to create within Las Colinas a
grand plaza, a gathering place for future generations. In order
to establish a unique identity for this urban space, a sculpture
that captured the free spirit embodied in the heritage of Texas
would be the centerpiece. Wild mustangs that roamed the early
days of Texas would be the identifying piece for this grand
gathering place. Mr. Ben Carpenter unveiled his plans in 1973
that would turn his family ranch into the world renowned
master-planned community it is today.
Robert Glen was given the assignment to create the mustang sculpture in the summer of 1976. He was asked to create a band of mustangs crossing a stream of water in the middle of the plaza proportioned so that they could be viewed from any direction.
Glen spent a year of research preliminary to starting the actual sculpturing process. He read books and historical periodicals to fully understand the background of these magnificent animals that were brought to the American continents from Spain and which sired the original wild horses of Texas and the western United States.
Glen constructed a number of small scale model horses in various positions and movements reflecting the mood and motion of the concept that had been given him. Modeling was done in plasticine, considered an improved material over clay for this type of work, to facilitate greater detailing.
Glen used a mixture of fiberglass and resin in which to cast a lightweight yet durable model that would endure the trip from Nairobi to England. The fiberglass maquettes were cleaned and prepared for shipment to England. Each fiberglass intermediate size maquette was crated and shipped by air from Nairobi to the Morris Singer Foundry at Basingstoke, England, about an hour's drive from central London. Periodically, Glen flew to England and spent several months at a time in the foundry where the final process of creating the 1 1/2 life-size model was begun, using the intermediate size maquette as a scaling and measurement guide.
The Morris Singer Foundry, whose heritage includes the casting of public monuments around the world such as the famed Lions of London's Trafalgar Square, is one of the oldest continuing sculpture foundries in the world. Founded in 1848 by John Webb Singer, utilizing British, French, and Belgian artisans, it was merged in 1927 with the Morris Art Bronze Foundry and in 1973 with the Paris sculpture foundry, Susse Fondeure S.A.
The bronze casting process itself was completed on November 10, 1981. The London firm of Evan Cook was engaged to prepare the bronze sculptures for shipment to Texas. They were transported to Heathrow Airport outside London. Upon arrival at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport the cargo of mustangs was unloaded from the plane and brought overland to Las Colinas.
Finally, on September 25, 1984, the sculpture was in place and the plaza was open for the public to inspect and enjoy. Assembled together were the nine bronze mustangs, forming the largest equestrian sculpture in the world. The centerpiece of the plaza, the Mustangs of Las Colinas, shall be a lasting memorial to the vanguard of the civilization of Texas.
|***The operation of the Mustangs of Las Colinas Museum is a partnership between Williams Square, Dallas County Utility Reclamation District and the City of Irving.***|