Friday, 05 April 2019 10:43

Granite sculpture divides opinion

Written by
The Family, a large granite sculpture, by Finchley sculptor Drew Edwards, may look like this at Chipping Barnet Library. The Family, a large granite sculpture, by Finchley sculptor Drew Edwards, may look like this at Chipping Barnet Library.
An alcove in front of Chipping Barnet library has been chosen as the potential site of a large granite sculpture, depicting a family of four, by Finchley sculptor Drew Edwards.

Two of his sculptures – Mother and Child and The Angel of Finchley Memorial Hospital – stand outside Finchley Memorial Hospital and a third, Children of the Mediterranean, was unveiled outside Middlesex University’s Ritterman building in October 2017.

Mr Edwards, who describes himself as a “penniless philanthropist”, accepts no funds and donates his sculptures.

Finchley sculptor Drew Edwards working on Children of the Mediterranean, his donated sculpture outside Middlesex UniversityFinchley sculptor Drew Edwards working on Children of the Mediterranean, his donated sculpture outside Middlesex UniversityBarnet Council says it was approached by Mr Edwards to see if the council could find a location within its parks and libraries for his latest sculpture, The Family, depicting four granite figures, the tallest of which is 7feet 8inches high, standing on a 6inch granite plinth.

In its application for planning permission, the council says that the installation of the granite art sculpture in the alcove at the front of the library, facing Stapylton Road, would contribute to the “beautification of the local area”.

“It is intended that this sculpture celebrates family, diversity, and togetherness.

“Chipping Barnet has a suitable space within an alcove of the library, which faces on to the main road opposite the Spires shopping centre and is in an area that will receive good footfall.”

Mr Drew, who is a professional actor, says he finds expression with hammer and chisel in hand, sculpting from flint, granite and wood.

He donated the two pieces standing outside Finchley Memorial Hospital in 2015 and 2016. His sculpture, Children of the Mediterranean, was inspired by the plight of refugees and depicts 91 figures of refugee children who drowned when travelling across the Mediterranean.

So far, the public reaction posted in comments on the council’s website for planning applications is not entirely favourable.

An art installation would give the library a boost. It needs to draw users to it, and the alcove space lends itself for something to fill it.

One supportive comment suggests the granite sculpture would improve the appearance of the library which was “appearing neglected and untidy” following the introduction of reduced staffing.

“An art installation would give the library a boost. It needs to draw users to it, and the alcove space lends itself for something to fill it.”

I dislike it immensely...It will be a blot on the landscape...It is dreary and unattractive, unnecessary and inappropriate.

But other comments are far more hostile: “This sculpture is meaningless...

I dislike it immensely...It will be a blot on the landscape...It is dreary and unattractive, unnecessary and inappropriate.”

In her posting, another local resident says the sculpture has no relevance to Barnet and the alcove should instead become the location for the proposed bronze sculpture of High Barnet’s feline celebrity, Millie the Waitrose cat, which died earlier this year at the age of 17 and is to be immortalised by Barnet sculptor John Somerville.

Share this post

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

7 comments

  • Comment Link Friday, 05 April 2019 20:25 posted by Lynda Payne

    how does it celebrate diversity?

  • Comment Link Sunday, 07 April 2019 16:48 posted by Michael Griffin

    The more art the better. I would also like to see J Somerville’s statue Phyrric Victory in particular given prominence to acknowledge our History of the Battle of Barnet from 1471 and also Dickens and the meeting of the Artful Dodger and Oliver Twist. So much of Barnet remains uncelebrated. Silly really.

  • Comment Link Monday, 08 April 2019 13:48 posted by Bee Lawrance

    Yes I agree. Why can't both sculptures be installed at the library. The library could do with some beautifying after the neglect it has been suffering due to cuts by the Council.

    The library used to be such a well used and welcoming place before the reduction in manned services.

  • Comment Link Monday, 08 April 2019 23:27 posted by Harry Chambers

    I had to re-visit this news article to make sure it wasn't posted on April 1st !

  • Comment Link Saturday, 27 April 2019 08:01 posted by Mark

    How about installing one of those stamp up toilets so the drunks round there don’t keep peeing up the library walls and pooping in the bushes

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 01 May 2019 17:02 posted by Ben Basson

    I love the commentary. This must be the maddest place I've ever lived. Paraphrasing - a stone sculpture isn't appropriate, so let's use this alcove for the placement of a bronze representation of a recently deceased celebrity cat.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 26 May 2019 11:19 posted by Mark

    Ben basson - a creature that gave a lot of love and joy to this area.
    There are very few things associated with contemporary Barnet that have done that.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published
All comments are moderated so there is a delay before you see them on the site
The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Barnet Society