Thursday, 2 February 2012
A CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK
My recent mention of Eric Gill's statue of 'Prospero and Ariel' (inspired by the characters in Shakespeare's The Tempest) prompts me to tell anyone who doesn't know it, the following story...
While the sculpture was in progress, concerns were raised because it was thought that the dimensions of Ariel's penis intruded uncomfortably upon what were perceived as the boundaries of common decency. Such Rabelaisian candour could not permitted to embellish the facade of an organ of rectitude like the British Broadcasting Corporation!
Gill was requested (one can only imagine with what bureaucratic awkwardness!) to reduce the offending member. Rather surprisingly for someone who was a pretty rampant phallacist, Gill agreed, and duly cut the boy down to the size we now (just about) observe!
Click here to read Gill's biographer Fiona MacCarthy on the dilemma of whether the sculptor's sexual proclivities (some illegal, several immoral) should influence our appreciation of his sculptures.