Large bronze sculptures by John Tolmay grace the hallways of homes and offices, trophy rooms and outdoor spaces of numerous discerning collectors of exceptional African wildlife art. These pieces can range from simple poses to highly complex and detailed constructions of the bronze art medium. Texturing and a loser style define the great beauty of this epic collection from the Bronze Africa gallery. These pieces are very popular with hunters from all over the world. They compliment the true African hunting experience.

The Markhor Commission for Don Wall

My friend Don Wall made a trip to Pakistan in 2018 in pursuit of a Markhor goat in the mountains of Kashmir. He told me he had undertaken this odyssey while we were at SEWE 2020 before the Chinese virus hit and changed the world. I have known about the Markhor for many years – the reason being that many of my African hunting clients over the years were also Sheep Hunters and for those of you that may think that these guys are just another group of hunters you are rather mistaken. Sheep hunters are crazy! Alive or half-dead they go and climb the toughest terrain to pursue the various types of sheep and goats that inhabit the high mountains of the world.

I would say that the Markhor and the Marco Polo or Altai Agali sheep tops the list of the most desirable of all the various species found in the high places of the world. However despite the desire to hunt one of these animals they were off limits to hunters in all the areas that these magnificent animals call home. The Astor subspecies inhabits the mountains of Kashmir in Pakistan and there is another very spectacular subspecies in Tajikistan called the Bukharan Markhor.

These animals were on the brink of extinction in their home range due to illicit hunting by meat hunters. I think I need to make a point here – if I was living in those environments where poverty is as normal as the thin air they breathe, I too would hunt to feed my family or to sell the spoils of the hunt to survive. Fortunately for the Markhor, an American university professor persuaded the various Governments of those countries where the Markhor are found to allow foreign hunters a very limited quota at a very high fee and in the case of the Kashmir Markhor where Don hunted, 80% of the fee for the animal hunted is paid to the local community.

One easy lesson for those people who are against hunting, the Markhor population throughout their range has exploded! Now they are protected by the very people that poached them only a few years ago. From rags to riches has turned the Markhor into a precious resource and in one easy step these animals have already recovered from certain decimation to a burgeoning population of majestic mountain creatures.

Hunting in many places of the world has saved many species from total destruction. The Markhor is just one and the Black Rhino in Namibia is another. The purpose of all this is to say thank you Don Wall – you helped save a magnificent animal and then commissioned me to sculpt it. Great challenge and we love the result. Think we could do the same for the Snow Leopard so it too can enjoy this type of protection?

2020-11-24T16:24:49-04:00November 19th, 2020|Commission, Large|

Three new pieces plus a new website for 2019

Time moves quickly these days and so must we to keep up. If you are reading this you will have already noticed the new website, helped in no small part by John Kepchar of TAP Photo Studio in Asheville NC with his beautiful photography.

I have three new pieces in the gallery.


I decided to do my best to sculpt an Elephant called ‘Duke’ who lived in the Kruger National Park and died there in 2011. This is the most beautiful animal with more than 100lbs of ivory on each side. The Duke was a gentleman with the most wonderful disposition and I hope I have captured that.

The Painted Dog

I had collaborated with an avid collector of mine to sculpt a Baboon with a baby on its back. I don’t like Baboons so, as he and his wife are dog lovers, I decided to see if he might like a painted dog and this was the result.

Waiting for the Groceries

Going on from the painted dog bust I thought to have a pup with him. It didn’t look right so I put the pup by himself. I am happy to say the pup trumped the Baboon.

Chatting with John

Our daughter Georgie came up with the idea that it might be nice for me to chat about some of my sculptures in a short video format. So that’s what we have done. You can watch a video of the sculpture while I chat a bit about it. You can see them here or you can subscribe to the channel if you’re a YouTube user.

Thanks for your feedback

My thanks to all of you who responded with such gracious, kind and encouraging testimonials about my work. You can see your handiwork live on this website. We always welcome your feedback about the work you have purchased or any general enquiries you may have.

2020-04-15T22:55:30-04:00November 17th, 2019|Elephant, Large, Predators|

Bronzes rising from the ashes

This is a tale of woe that fortunately had a good ending for 3 of my original pieces. I suspect there are a good number of you out there that have never even seen these 3 pieces.

The Kilimanjaro Bull is three feet high and was the very first Elephant I sculpted but I don’t display it anymore. It is too heavy to haul around as are the wall mount and the giraffe. Time has marched on and Di and I don’t have the strength to handle these at the shows.

So herewith the tale. One of the foundries I have used for years burned down this year. Cal Paulson’s Billings Bronze was nearly burned to the ground. Thankfully no one was hurt and few losses of art occurred but there was really not much left.

The patina room was destroyed and much of the equipment was also burned. Sometime ago, Cal cast two Kilimanjaro Study wall mounts, one Kilimanjaro Bull as well as Rain Dancer, a four foot tall giraffe and they were just there when the fire went through.

Mercifully, the flames were not hot enough to melt or damage the bronze. On my way back from the Bozeman foundry last month I stopped by to collect the two heads and the Giraffe. The Kilimanjaro Bull however, will be on its way to be displayed and perhaps sold at the African Oasis in Dillion, Montana in the next few weeks or so.

Back from the dead

Cal had to patina the heads with rudimentary bits and pieces and used a fork lift to raise the pieces so we could get it done. We managed to find a little bottle of silver nitrate which is the foundation chemical he has always used to patina the Elephant. The darker colors were the usual ferric oxides he uses which is easy to make by putting a kilo of nails in a gallon of sulphuric acid and let the nails dissolve so we had plenty of that. Cal had his pump pot with the potash mixture so we had no problem with that either. The sequence is to put potash on the raw bronze and to highlight the high bits with a blue pad which is like a nylon pot scourer and then heat the whole thing with the blow torch which he had because it survived the fire but the bottle of course had exploded so he had another one or two brought in. We worked in a room across the street from the original Foundry. It was very hot work in that summer heat so naturally a few beers assisted in the improvisations we had to make.

Kilimanjaro Bull
Elephant head wall mount

I was glad to have the chance to work with Cal on these original pieces. A lot of water under the bridge for the two of us and it felt like we had gone full circle. Cal, the foundry and I go right back to when I very first arrived in the USA to become a full-time sculptor.

And there we shall leave this tale…

If you might be interested in the sculptures, do get in touch. Otherwise be on the lookout for some new work before we go to Australia in late October to visit our grandchildren and, of course, their parents.

And don’t forget that we are going to be at the Cottonwood Art Festival in Richardson, TX on October 6th and 7th. A new show for us which we are very much looking forward to attending so if you’re in the area don’t forget to come over and say hello.

Until next time, JT

2019-11-18T17:46:18-04:00September 12th, 2018|Elephant, Large, News|

Belligerence is here – all 250lbs of it…

Well, we took time about it, Belligerence and I – and now the time has come to bring you my most ambitious sculpture to date.

Six buffalo bulls on a termite mound, tightly packed, multiple levels, dynamic poses – a piece that took months of work but I wanted to raise the bar and aim higher. I wanted to dig deeper into my head-space than ever before with a buffalo sculpture. You can see the result here.

This is an edition of 7. Miles White, who commissioned the Stag, took Belligerence while it was still in the clay so the first one has already gone to Illinois.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed sculpting it.

2019-11-18T17:45:34-04:00November 30th, 2016|Cape Buffalo, Large, News|

A new Buffalo Sculpture

After The War Department sold out in Dallas last year it was clear that another large-scale multifaceted buffalo sculpture was called for and so – never one to avoid taking on a big challenge – herewith my latest offering still in the clay.

At this stage I can only guess at how heavy the piece will be and I will be keeping the edition number very low. A sixth buffalo will be added to the back and then all the texturing and detailing will be applied.

My daughter Georgie, and quite possibly my harshest critic (being an artist herself), calls this sculpture one of my “signature pieces.” I am under firm instruction to “stick to my knitting” and just let the piece do the talking – let the buffalo speak for themselves.

Yet to name it of course, but watch this space…

2019-07-29T01:17:07-04:00January 5th, 2016|Cape Buffalo, Large, News|
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