Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Erasmus and Chad

 In these days, when most public memorial sculpture is sorry stuff (Princess Diana statue, anyone?), Lichfield is fortunate in having at least two statues that wouldn't suffer in comparison with the work of earlier time. 
The statue of Erasmus Darwin in Beacon Park is suitably full of character and energy, and effectively suggests the powerful but benign presence of the great polymath, grandfather of the now more famous Charles. His fine house, with its restored garden, is just over the road.

The statue of St Chad is also expressive of energy, emphasised by the forward tilt of the figure. It portrays the Bishop of Mercia and patron saint of Lichfield and its cathedral, as a man on a journey, a man with a mission indeed. This statue stands, well placed, in the cathedral precinct, by the Southeast corner of the great building (which in itself demonstrates the sad falling-off in quality of ecclesiastical sculpture between medieval and Victorian times – the few surviving bits of medieval  statuary show up the later stuff all too cruelly). 

Both these works are by the talented local sculptor Peter Walker, who also created the installation Peace Doves – 20,000 paper doves, which took flight in the nave of Lichfield cathedral (among others) a few years ago. 

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