Limited edition of 16
Archival reverse photographic print onto aluminium
Signed & numbered by the artist
Thousands of people pass by the Wellington Arch on London’s Hyde Park Corner every day, yet few give more than a glance to the giant quadriga standing proudly above it. The sculptor, Adrian Jones, a former army veterinary captain, specialised in animal figures and exhibited a magnificent plaster group at the Royal Academy entitled ‘Triumph’. The Prince of Wales was so impressed that he suggested that this quadriga would make a suitable adornment for the rebuilt Wellington Arch, and so it was commissioned.
A banker and philanthropist, Sir Herbert Stern, donated £20,000 and in 1908 Jones set to work on the full size version in his Chelsea studio with Edward VII taking personal interest. The chariot of war features Nike, the winged Goddess of Victory. The intriguing figure of a boy driving the horses was in fact modelled on Stern’s ten year old son. The final bronze sculpture was unveiled in 1912. The statue is also notable in being the largest bronze sculpture in Europe.
Statues are not only beautiful but carry with them stories. Classical statues were in a sense the feature films, the blockbusters, of their day at a time when books and paintings were a rare luxury of the privileged. On display for all to see, the unveiling of statues were major events and word of mouth passed on for generations who would travel to cities to see these wonders.
The immortality of statues reflects our human aspirations. Today, although society have become oblivious to such statues they still retain a gravitas and eternal value. They may be taken for granted yet one would surely notice if they were removed. Could we ever dispose of them?.. I think not and that they are destined to become ever more valuable, yet around the world they stand ignored and exposed to the elements.
Kenny Laurenson’s fascination is also in their symbolism. Most statues are embedded with allegorical meaning whilst the story of their creation always plays an important part in the final rendition.
Kenny has embedded further depth into the final piece intending that they should be viewed from a distance, mid range or close up with entirely different effect.
Kenny Laurenson’s photomontage series ‘Statuesque’ expresses a long fascination with perception. “Statues in cities are so often almost invisible yet they depict powerful stories and characters from an era when visual information was so rare. Statues have gravity, beauty, craft and hold an eternal value, as symbolic of immortality as anything we create. I endeavour to bring them new context, new life, new perspective”. Kenny Laurenson takes a traditional dark room approach, a crafted ‘dodge and burn’ technique, utilising digital technology.