Inside the mind of a Lincoln Baron designer

We’ve all seen them this summer. We’ve all wandered around the city, wondering of the who, what, when and where behind them, and now the designer of two of the Lincoln Barons answers all of our questions for The Linc.

the 1960s Baron

The 1960s Baron, located just off the Bailgate until the Barons were sold off earlier this month (Photo: Becky Lancashire)

Since graduating from the University of Lincoln in 2010 with a degree in Fine Art, 27-year-old Rosie Ablewhite lives in the city and works as an artist.

Due to the 800th birthday of the Magna Carta this year, and all the celebrations that came with the special occasion, Rosie’s art career was to take a rather exciting turn.

She said: “I saw advertisements for artists to paint these 6ft baron statues and to submit designs for a potential 25 of them.

“I submitted three designs in the end with three different sponsors in mind, and two of them were chosen.

Her designs for The Graduate Baron and The 60s Baron would then be transformed onto six-foot statues before public display around the city.

“I was over the moon, and so honoured and very excited to start, knowing it was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she told The Linc. “I thought it was a really fantastic idea to help celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta by getting the locals involved in an interactive trail.”

Thousands of people took part in the Lincoln Baron Charter Trail over the summer months, snapping photos and learning more about King John’s barons and Lincoln’s history.

three of the Barons in the grounds of Lincoln Castle

From left: the Freeman, Mayor, and Graduate Barons in the grounds of Lincoln Castle before the auction (Photo: Becky Lancashire)

Rosie says she was pleasantly surprised by how successful the project turned out to be: “I always hoped it would do very well but I think it’s exceeded all of our expectations.”

When the barons’ time in the city was over on September 13, they were reunited at Lincoln Castle for a week, before being auctioned to raise money for the Trussell Trust.

The auction was held on October 1 at the DoubleTree Hotel on the Brayford Waterfront, where the 25 barons managed to raise a staggering total of £167,000, with Rosie’s Graduate Baron being sold for £6,800 and her 60s Baron fetching £7,600.

Rosie posing with the Barons she designed

Rosie posing with the Barons she designed

She said: “I was there on the night and I was just gobsmacked as the numbers just went up and up – I couldn’t believe it. My family worked out that as an artist I raised the most for the Trussell Trust with my two barons.

“The biggest feeling of pride was probably when the hammer went down at the auction though – the energy in the room was electric”.

Due to her involvement in designing the barons, Rosie has since received more work. She has also received increased attention through social media.

She explained: “It’s always flattering when people say one of my designs is their favourite, or getting congratulated when you’ve worked hard on something – it feels great to share that excitement with them.”

But now, as the barons go on to their new homes, Rosie says she is glad some are staying close by.

the Graduate Baron

Rosie’s Graduate Baron will remain at the University of Lincoln (Photo: Becky Lancashire)

“I’m so thrilled that The Graduate Baron is staying with the university and I can’t wait to see him again in his new home. It’s where he was always envisioned being and I’m glad that he’s where he belongs.

“I’m very pleased that The 60s Baron is also staying with his sponsors, The Lincoln Hotel.”

Rosie is still painting mini barons for people, which will be set out on their own trail over the Christmas period in shop windows.

If you would like to see more of Rosie’s work and past projects, it can all be found on her blog at