Following on from the strange pubs and other buildings we’ve explored in this blog, we turn to the peculiar artwork and monuments scattered about London.
Here are a few of the stranger celebrations of history and alleged artwork you can find on your travels around the capital. And some of these you can never un-see.
The Vomiting Fountain
It doesn’t seem likely that this has been done by accident. This sculpture, part of a set that includes a chap pouring a bottle of something over his head and another apparently taking a leak, sits on the South Bank close to the Jubilee Bridge. It’s the work (fault?) of German sculptor Klaus Weber, and no doubt he’s chuckling all the way to the bank.
The Broad Family
Sometimes you wonder if artists aren’t laughing at us the entire time. This, if you can believe it, is a picture of a family and their dog. Not a particularly well formed family, or perhaps one that’s been in an unfortunate landslide in the unlikely surroundings of Broadgate, near Liverpool Street, but it’s definitely a family – if you look closely, Spanish sculptor Xavier Corbero has helpfully added a pair of shoes to the ‘person’ next to the ‘football’. Yes, very funny Xavier, but we’ve kept the receipt so the joke’s on you.
Cross The Divide
Sitting outside the main entrance of St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth, this statue may have a laudable aim of bridging gaps and fostering relationships, but does it have to be so bizarre? Why are these two standing like that? And couldn’t they make it a little bigger and put it somewhere people could walk under it, rather than dumping it next to a wall?
Michael Jackson, Fulham FC
It would be impossible not to include this hideous apparition outside Craven Cottage. Fulham owner Mohammed al Fayed had it installed in 2011 but tragically took his ball and his statue with him when he sold the club two years later. And tragic it certainly was – Fulham had a win percentage of 33% while the statue was in place, and only 25% after its removal, which might explain their Moonwalk down the table towards relegation.
Search For Enlightenment
Not too far from the Houses of Parliament sits this peculiar artwork, the work of British sculptor Simon Gudgeon. Considering most people consider politicians to have a huge hole where their brains might sit, Millbank might well be the best place for this one.
The Temple Bar Dragon
At the point where the City of London meets the City of Westminster, on Fleet Street, sits this imposing metal beast. London has a number of sculpted dragons dotted about in various shapes, sizes and colours, but Charles Bell Birch’s is the tallest of them. From a certain angle, without your contact lenses in, it looks like a very fat dragon scratching its engorged belly, but up close you can see that’s actually a shield in front of it. I don’t know why a dragon would be scratching a shield.
The Girl in the Photo Booth
Another, like the Jackson statue, that turned out to be only temporary, this extraordinary piece of art sat on the concourse of Victoria station for a time a couple of years ago. It’s notable for being a near-perfect representation of how a great many British ladies end their Friday and Saturday nights in this city, and lacks in authenticity just the sliver of regurgitated wine emerging guiltily from the booth.