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)
PMSA recording information