Acknowledgement: London Mist © Getty Images.
The Fouth Plinth in Trafalgar Square will host a live sculpture project this summer. The One and Other project will been spread over 100 days, from 6 July – 14 October 2009, inviting applicants from the public [aged 16 years or over and staying in the UK] to occupy the Fourth Plinth for an hour.
The fouth plinth was originally planned to hold an equestrian statue of King William IV. Full length statues in bronze were often erected to commemorate monarchs, generals, writers, artists and politicians throughout the country. In 1831 Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle had noted that …
‘an historical statue of King William the Fourth seated in a triumphal car, chiseled by an eminent sculptor, will be placed on the pediment over the great gate, at the entrance to Hyde Park from Picadilly.’ Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle (London, England), Sunday, May 22, 1831; Issue 478.New Readerships
On 30th June 1837 William IV died at Windsor, but no equestrian statue was made for the king to stand on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Two years later, in 1839 the sub-committee appointed to accellerate the plans to erect a monument to Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square, designed by William Railton [who also built the National School and St Paul’s church, Woodhouse Eaves , Leicestershire], included in the plans four corner plinths, for four lion statues by Landseer , years later a fountain was constructed in 1845, and on the four peripheral plinths stood bronze statues – one for General Napier, one for Major General Havelock, and one for King George IV.
Nineteenth century plans for an equestrian statue of the late King William IV, to stand on the fourth plinth, came to nothing [as no money was made available], and there were many humourous specualtions as to the future use of the square and its bronzes statues. Punch ran an article in January 1844 advertising the use of the statues in the square in a…
‘Bold Specualtion!…The Cabinet has come to the determination of converting this extensive area into a place of public amusement – namely, an Ampitheatre, to be entitled The Royal Trafalgar Circus….The seats, it has been calculated, will accomodate a least one million spectators. A huge tarpauling, consisting of two acres of canvas, will be extended over the building in wet weather.’ Punch (London, England), Saturday, January 13, 1844.
Punch invisaged that the statue of Nelson would dance the hornpipe, a statute of George III, in his debut, would play a piece as Timour the Tartar ‘he will condescend to wear his own pigtail’ , plus a statue of William IV, taken from the site of the Boar’s Head in East Cheap, representing the British Tar along with the services of other statues from Westminster Abbey, such as Elizabeth I. ‘Admittance 1s, reserved seats, 2s 6d’. The proceeds were envisaged to help The State abolish income tax and reduce the national debt.
Today Trafalgar Square and Fourth Plinth are a place of public entertainment, for artists and performers, displaying a wide range of modern sculpture such as Bill Woodrow’s Regardless of History and Rachel Whiteread’s Monument, as well as becoming a showcase for events such as thousands of tea cups laid out as part of the 2007 Channel 4 programme Genius; Human footprint
At present the fourth plinth is home to Thomas Shutte’s red, yellow and blue glass sculpture Model for a Hotel 2007, however in July 2009 a new project for the Fourth Plinth by Antony Gormley plans to create a ‘living’ monument on the Fourth Plinth.
You can register your interest in the One and Other project at oneandother.co.uk. [Applications begin at the beginning of April 2009 and will close at the end of May 2009.
Loughborough University Library have a number of books on Anthony Gormley’s art, which are located on Level 2, at 730.942 and journal articles are available via MetaLib, using databases such as Art Full text, ArtBibliographies Modern and Art Retrospective.
To find out more about Antony Gormley and the 2009 One and Another project for the Fourth Plinth at Trafagar Square, please see the links below.