Gift Horse

There are four plinths in Trafalgar Square but one never had a statue erected on it as the money ran out! It was supposed to be a statue of King George 4th riding triumphantly on a horse. So for 150 years the plinth remained empty. In 1999 a 4th Plinth Project was set up and ever since then the plinth has seen a succession of modern art projects / installations.

The new commission Gift Horse by artist Hans Haacke, was unveiled on Thursday 5 March and replaces the Blue Cock which I have written about before – see here.

The London City Hall website comments “Hans Haacke’s Gift Horse depicts a skeletal, riderless horse – a wry comment on the equestrian statue of William IV originally planned for the plinth. Tied to the horse’s front leg is an electronic ribbon displaying live the ticker of the London Stock Exchange, completing the link between power, money and history. The horse is derived from an etching by George Stubbs; the famous English painter whose works are represented in the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.”

Horse 1 The 4th Plinth – Gift Horse

Horse 2The FTSE 100 Ticker Tape

A meeting with the Woodland Trust at the British Library

I travelled up to London yesterday to meet a colleague from the Woodland Trust to discuss our forthcoming plans for joint interpretation and other matters at Fingle Woods. London is about half way between Grantham where the Woodland Trust are based and Devon. We met at the British Library which is well served with tube trains from Paddington and near to King’s Cross.

It was my first visit to the British Library which is an impressive building – I watched it being built on and off during the mid 1990s – it opened to the public in 1997.

The famous reading rooms were originally at the British Museum – this is where Marx, for example researched his theories, but in 1997 the library moved lock stock and barrel to its new site on the Euston Road. The library is huge, contains a copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland and of course contains many very special and rare treasures – see here for more details. The next big event at the British Library is the forthcoming Magna Carta exhibition which starts in mid March – see here for ticket details.

I of course took at few photographs!

British Library 8The impressive entrance which reveals Eduardo Paolozzi’s Newton

British Library 1The piazza which shows the modernist extent of the Library with the towers of St Pancras station in the background

British Library 5Antony Gormley’s piece – ‘Witness – in honour of the ninetieth anniversary of the English Pen’ in front of the clock tower

British Library 4Another Gormley – one of the carved stones which makes up the circular ‘Planets’  installation

British Library 6A plane passes of the Library  and another piece of art (unattibuted)

British Library 2Inside the Library – the main entrance

British Library 3 I really like this sculpture – book, chain and ball – its not a borrowing library!

British Library 7And of course there are books ….. lots of books

The giant blue cockerel in Trafalgar Square and a dragon in the City

And now for something completely different!

Was up in London a few weeks ago and saw a giant blue cockerel in Trafalgar Square….. eventually I got around to looking up what it was and why it was there. So here we go.

Cock1

There are four plinths in Trafalgar Square but one never had a statue erected on it as the money ran out! It was supposed to be a statue of King George 4th. So for 150 years the plinth remained empty. In 1999 a 4th Plinth Project was set up and ever since then the plinth has seen a succession of modern art projects / installations. The giant blue cockerel or Hahn/Cock as it is officially known is one of these. It has been designed and created by German artist Katharina Fritsch. It was unveiled to the public in July 2013 by Boris Johnson amidst much merriment and double entendre.

In essence the art work is a humorous take on London, Londoners and the British in general. The irony of the blue cockerel – the symbol of France standing next to Lord Nelson the vanquisher of the French is one interpretation. Boris J of course made much of the double entendre and the phallic nature of the Column etc etc. See here for much more artistic interpretation.

Yes – I like all the symbolism and satire but I also like its blueness!

If you think this kind of animal symbolism and legend is rather odd – well it runs pretty deep in London. Visit the City of London and you will be met by dragons guarding the Gates. Here is the one on the Embankment.

Dragon1

 

Talk me through the symbolism of this! A dragon holding a shield with the cross of St George……

London Reflections

I am really into photographing reflections at the moment – I think they give a different perspective on life!

Here are a few I took in London last weekend.

Refelections 7

The Cutty Sark at Greenwich

Shard 3

The Shard

Reflection 4

Birch trees at the Tate Modern

Reflections 2

Thames bridge

Reflections 5

Abstract

Me

Me!