Dashed Dreams of White Horses?

Sad news. The 50m high statue of a grey horse by artist Mark Wallinger that was to be built at Ebbsfleet in Kent may not go ahead as it’s costs have risen prohibitively and donations have dried up. The Times reports:

The mood was different when the Ebbsfleet Landmark Project (ELP) was launched in 2008, a few months before the banking collapse turned the world economy upside down. At that time, Wallinger’s proposal was the instant favourite, the Turner prize-winner’s idea standing out over more abstract designs from rivals including Rachel Whiteread and Richard Deacon.

The brief was to create something monumental to dominate the high-speed rail link between London and the Channel Tunnel, in much the same way that Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North has become a landmark on the A1 near Gateshead.

The site earmarked is a scrubby patch of hillside between the A2 and Ebbsfleet International train station. The sculpture was envisaged as the centrepiece of a huge brownfield development of houses, shops, offices and industrial units. Wallinger’s stallion would be 33 times life size and visible 20 miles away. Although Anish Kapoor’s tower of red steel for the Olympic Park in Stratford will be 15m taller, the horse would be the most physically imposing work of art in the country. …

The artist can console himself that he is following in illustrious footsteps. At the end of the 15th century Leonardo da Vinci spent nearly two decades trying to build a giant, scientifically accurate, bronze horse for the Duke of Milan. War, politics and economic adversity intervened to ensure it never happened, and Leonardo’s horse remains one of the unrealised masterpieces of European art.

Published by Susanna Forrest

Author of The Age of the Horse: an Equine Journey Through Human History and If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of Equine Obsession.

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