Sculpture Q&A with Dr Roger Bowdler: Historic England's Director of Listing
What do you love?
Roger Bowdler replies:
Peter Peri’s Following the Leader was installed in 1949 on the outside of Darley House, on the Vauxhall Gardens Estate in Lambeth. It is a war memorial – to child victims of the Blitz. The helix of figures, executed in cement render on mesh, is a Baroque apotheosis in Socialist mode: Peri was a Communist émigré, who fled Hungary and then Germany. It’s a great, late example of inter-twined architecture and sculpture. The spatial depth he achieved in this relief is remarkable, as is the tenderness: their deaths came from the skies above, and up they now soar up to play. Public sculpture with a purpose, enriching lives, and just one of the gems we hope is now better appreciated through its recent Listing.
Glynn Williams’ Lloyd George in Parliament Square (2007) signs up to the grand tradition of statesman statues, but renders the fiery Cambrian in Camberwick Green mode. Where is the drive, shrewdness, and guile? Parliament Square spaces are fiercely fought for: this ironic spoof sits uncomfortably in this solemn setting, just below the Cenotaph. You would never think that this was the man who steered Great Britain to victory in the First World War.