National Recording Project


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

The Sower


Type Statue

     The statue depicts a nude male figure in the act of sowing seeds. The figure has a small apron-like drape around his waist which he holds up in his left hand, this contains the seeds that he is scattering with his right hand. The falling seeds are shown as a swirling cascade evoking drapery, and aligning the statue to the Classical tradition. Movement is arrested with the body evenly balanced in a forward stride, the head directing the gaze towards the central steps. The manner in which The Sower holds up the apron reveals his genitalia, making the link between the fertility and productivity of both land and humans; and consequently of the growth provided by the knowledge and learning contained within the library.
     When plans for the library were unveiled there was some protest about the use of a nude statue in the scheme; in particular the miners of Cannock Chase Coalfield felt that a fully clothed miner would be more appropriate. (2) The library was officially opened on 30 March 1957, but as the official pamphlet explains the £350 statue was not ready at this time. It was installed without ceremony in April 1959.
     In the official pamphlet published for the opening of the library the text describes the purpose of the statue, "The Sculpture is designed as a vertical organic foil to the more mechanical horizontal treatment of the building, the general effect being of a spiral movement around a central column. There is point in the subject matter, 'The Sower' having been chosen for its obvious allegorical associations, in particular the dissemination of knowledge through books." (1)

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Poole, A John Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Statue Belgian granite 210cm high

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
STccCAxx001 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Biological growth
  • Previous treatments
Structural condition
  • Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
  • Graffiti
  • Surface damage
Road Manor Avenue
Precise location Cannock Central Library, to left of entrance
A-Z ref 4 5B
OS ref SJ983103
Date of design 1957-59
Year of unveiling 1959
Unveiling details Installed, April 1959
Commissioned by Cannock Urban District Council
Duty of care Cannock Chase District Council
Listing status Not listed
At risk? Not at risk

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