National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Edward Elgar

Summary

Type Statue

     The statue is one and a quarter life size and shows Elgar in his fifty-fourth year dressed in his Cambridge Doctorate of Music gown and wearing the Order of Merit. It is a full length statue of Elgar, hands behind his back, as if walking towards the Cathedral to conduct there. The stone pedestal very plain, itself mounted on a wide square platform in two layers: the plaques are mounted horizontally on the step of this.
     A committee to consider how Elgar should be commemorated in his home city was set up by Mrs Joan Russell of the music shop, 'Music 47' in Worcester. The Statue Appeal Committee was approached by Kenneth Potts, a designer at the Royal Worcester Porcelain Works, who was very keen to make a bronze statue of the composer, already having an 18 inch high clay maquette of the composer. He submitted his ideas and showed the maquette. The Committee sought the opinion of Sir Hugh Casson and members of the Royal Academy, who both gave positive responses. So much interest was aroused that the Elgar Statue Appeal was launched nation-wide on 2nd June 1979, the centenary of Elgar's birth, with a target of £25,000. Leading members of the musical world lent support, the Prince of Wales took a hand and the general public subscribed generously (there is a list of the subscribers in a book kept with other historical documents at Elgar's birthplace in Broadheath near Worcester). The statue unveiled by the Prince of Wales on 2 June 1981, with a celebratory concert of Elgar's music held in Worcester Cathedral afterwards. An unusual coincidence is that the sculptor, Kenneth Potts, lived for a time when first in Worcester in the house in Britannia Square where Elgar first went to school in 1863, Potts' room was actually Elgar's first room at the then school. A detailed description of the sculpting of the final work, including the making of the clay model and the casting process is given in the souvenir pamphlet published at the time of the unveiling.
    

Inscriptions

'EDWARD ELGAR' 7.5cm incised letters, incisions painted black, on south side of plinth. Two separate plaques: 'EDWARD ELGAR / 1857-1934' and 'THIS STATUE WAS UNVEILED BY / H.R.H. / THE PRINCE OF WALES / 2ND JUNE 1981'

Related works : A maquette by Kenneth Pott's for this statue is at The Elgar Birthplace Museum.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Potts, Kenneth Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
statue Bronze 2.44m high
pedestal Stone 1.18m high, 93cm x 92cm

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WOwoWOmg003 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Bird guano
Structural condition
Vandalism
Road High Street
Precise location Middle of pedestrianised High Street where it meets Lychgate
A-Z ref None
OS ref SO851547
Date of design 1979-1980
Year of unveiling 1981
Unveiling details June 1981
Commissioned by Elgar Statue Appeal
Duty of care None
Listing status Not listed
At risk? Not at risk

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