Wednesday, 15 July 2015

In Which I Meet Queen Victoria

Sir John Cordy Burrows, chillin' in the shade. What a casual pose.
At the end of June I needed to go to Brighton, so decided to finally follow the Sculpture Trail whilst I was there. This is, of course, a goal from The List:
040. Follow the Brighton Sculpture Trail
The trail includes both traditional and modern sculptures, and some that I barely consider to fit in the 'sculpture' category!

So then, ready for a virtual tour of some of Brighton's most notable sculptures? Follow me!

Sir John Cordy Burrows (above)
Sculptor: Edward Bowring Stephens

This guy was the mayor of Brighton four times: 1854, 1857, 1858 and 1871. Must have been a pretty good mayor, huh?
According to the Sculpture Trail information (which I'll link to at the end of this post), the statue originally stood in a different place, close to the Royal Pavilion, but was moved to its current position in 1984. I had difficulty finding this one, as it's pretty much lost amongst the trees!

Victoria Fountain, aka the Seagull Bath
Victoria Fountain
Sculptor: W. Pepper

This is always a sight to behold in the summer, when the water is running! I have a memory of a friend climbing into the pool around the base--nevermind that the sea is only a few hundred yards away!
Victoria Fountain was comissioned by John Cordy Burrows, and was unveiled in 1846, for Queen Victoria's birthday.
Apparently the pool at the bottom used to contain goldfish and waterlilies!

War Memorial, and more seagulls...
War Memorial
Designer: John W. Simpson
Sculptor: C. Kerridge Jr
Letter Carver: H. Cashmore

This stately-looking structure is Brighton's war memorial. It has a pool with a fountain (which is unavoidably full of seagulls during the summer) and a colonnade at one end, with a small dome on top.

Despite the gulls, pigeons, and traffic zooming past on all sides, the war memorial is very tranquil. 
The steps up to the altar bear the words, 'For Prayer and Meditation'.

The War Memorial contains the names of 2,600 Brighton residents who lost their lives during WWI, and was unveiled by Earl Beatty.

King George, outside his holiday home
Statue of George IV
Sculptor: Sir Francis Chantrey

This is a replica of a statue found in Windsor Castle. According to the trail information, it has been moved since it was first unveiled in 1828. It was put on a new base near the statue of Queen Victoria (see below), moved to make room for the War Memorial (see above!)

You may remember that I skated on his lawn back in January!

Queen Vic wants you to read her scroll
Queen Victoria
Sculptor:  Carlo Nicoli
Builder: The Sculpted Marble Company, London

Queen Victoria is amongst some trees on a patch of land across the road from where King George IV stands.
The statue was presented to Brighton in 1897 by Sir John George Blaker.

A friend once told me that Queen Victoria hated Brighton, which is why her statue faces towards the sea...

Ceres - Corn Exchange
Sculptor: James Woodford
Architect: Robert Atkinson

Installed in 1934 at the Corn Exchange, this sculpture depicts the goddess Ceres and six angels, and stands just above the doorway.
Apparently the Corn Exchange was built as a ridiing school for the Prince of Wales between 1803-08, and forms part of the Brighton Dome venue (which was once the stables!)

Loaves & Fishes
Sculptors: John & Helen Mary Skelton
Architect: Wells-Thorpe and Suppel.

This piece is set into the wall of Brighthelm Church and Community Centre (where I saw a production of Wyrd Sisters during this year's Fringe Festival).
The sculpture clearly makes a biblical reference, to when Jesus fed the 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish.

There's a bus in the way...
Jubilee Clock Tower
Designer: John Johnson A.R.I.B.A.
Builder: J&T Chappell
Stonemason: J.M. Whitehead & Sons

This is a very handy clock tower if you're giving anybody directions in the main part of Brighton! It's a visible landmark and from it you can reach many different areas (the station, shopping centre, beach and Old Steine!)

The tower is 75 feet high and was gifted to Brighton by James Willing.
There are portaits on the four sides, which depict the Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Edward Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra.

'Twins'. And many censored faces.
Sculptor: Charlie Hooker

These were unveiled in 1998, and apparently they make noises depending on the sun. I vaguely remember people listening in the year or so after the statues appeared, but haven't ever noticed the sounds myself!
These days, people just use these sculptures as somewhere to sit and take a breather.

Royal Sussex Memorial
Sculptor: Charles L. Hartwell
Architect: John W. Simpson
Builder: B & W Bennett

Unveiled in 1904, this piece bears the inscription, "In memory of the officers, non commissioned offrs and men of the Royal Sussex Regument who fell in South Africa 1900-1902."

The bronze figure at the top is that of a man with a bugle, surrounded by four gun shells.

The Peace Statue
Sculptor: Newbury Abbot Trent
Builder: Messrs Kirkpatrick Bros.
Foundry: Mr A.B. Burton

This is a memorial to King Edward VII, who was known as the 'Peacemaker'. It sits at the boundary between Brighton and Hove, and was erected through a collaboration between the councils of both towns.

Of course, being related to peace, the top of the sculpture depicts an angel bearing an olive branch.
The statue stands just off the beach, watching over the land. I really like this statue, though it's a bit of a walk along the seafront to get to it. On the plus side, between the Peace Statue and the beach, there's a shop that sells drinks and ice cream :)

Sculptor: Charles Hadcock
Foundry: James W. Shenton Ltd

According to the sculpture trail information, the tesselation pattern of this sculpture is inspired by the limestone terraces at Black Head, County Clare, Ireland.
From the information, I also learnt that the sculpture was removed in 2004 because cracks had appeared in one of the sections. It was returned to the beach in 2007 but the upper section, where the cracks had been, was not replaced.

Framing the skeleton of West Pier, and the fleshy sun-baked bodies of bathers
I vaguely remember this sculpture being taller, though not clear enough to remember how much taller.
This piece always makes me think of a section of a wrecked ship, though it's one of those modern sculptural pieces that I never fully understood.

Passacaglia is made from recycled scrap iron (yay, upcycling!) and was orignally installed in 1998.

Kiss Wall
Sculptor: Bruce Williams

This statue has been there as long as I can remember! Apparently it was unveiled in 1992, and it is a great example of how diverse Brighton's inhabitants are.
From the Sculpture Trail information:
Bruce Williams states that Kiss Wall is a celebration, calling for equality, understanding and acceptance between all individuals
I've always thought this was cleverly done, as the images are formed from holes drilled into the metal.

Afloat, known locally as The Donut
Sculptor: Hamish Black
Foundry: Pangolin Editions

Honestly, until I found the information on the sculpture trail, I never knew this as anything other than 'The Donut'!
It took me some time to get a good photo of this one, as it's a prime location for visitors to take selfies, and pose for pictures as they peer through the hole in the middle!

I learnt that it's part of a series by the sculptor named 'One World', and is made from patinated bronze.

Apparently the siting of this sculpture was chosen so that people could look through the hole and see the horizon. Due to the location of the sun, and my innate talent for doing things backward (I actually came to this sculpture first!), I took a photo from the sea side of the sculpture. Look at all the circles!

It turns out that this piece was unveiled in 1998, but it's another of those sculptures that seems to have been in Brighton forever!

Palace Pier Clock Tower
Builders: Messrs. W.G. Beaumont

Okay, so this is one part of the sculpture trail that I didn't expect. I sincerely struggle to perceive this as a sculpture.
Anyway, it was installed in 1930 when Palace Pier was renovated, and that's pretty much it for the specific information found on the sculpture trail pdf--the rest talks about the pier renovations in general, and some other local sites that were opened at the same time.

Overall Impression of Sculpture Trail
Some of it was interesting and impressive, some of it fun. As with all things relating to the arts, there were some things I couldn't truly appreciate. Whilst I like that the sculpture trail is designed in a loop around Brighton, it seems a bit of an anticlimax to finish with the Palace Pier Clock Tower.
But maybe that's just me.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, I didn't start at #1 on the list, I started at 'Afloat' and worked my way from there, finishing at Passacaglia as I had other errands in Brighton.

I had Map My Walk running whilst I was in Brighton, and before following the sculpture trail went and took some photographs of the graffiti at Circus Street. Between that, the sculpture trail, and going about my shopping, I ended up walking 8.4 miles!

Fancy Following the Sculpture Trail?
You can find a downloadable .pdf at Visit Brighton, under the 'Brighton and Hove Art Galleries' heading on the page linked here.

1 comment:

  1. Wow some of these sculptures are stunning! I especially like Ceres, Victoria Fountain, The Peace Statue, Kiss Wall, and Afloat, as well as the way the clouds look against all the sculptures in your photos. Wonderful post!