Campaign for monument to WB Yeats nears target

A campaign for a permanent London monument to the Irish Nobel prize winning poet WB Yeats is just £21,000 short of its £134,000 target with just over a month to go.

It is supported by the Embassy of Ireland, Ambassador Adrian O’Neill, and Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

From the age of two Yeats lived in Bedford Park in Chiswick, West London – a garden suburb designed for writers and artists. It is where Yeats – the only Nobel Prize-winning poet to have grown up in England – is recorded to have written The Lake Isle of Inisfree.

Last Sunday 13 June was the 156th anniversary of his birth in Sandymount, Dublin.

The sculpture is planned to go outside St Michael & All Angels’ Church, on the corner of Bath Rd.

Organiser Cahal Dallat, a poet and Chiswick resident, said they wanted not a statue of the writer but “an art work which captured his spirit and illustrated how growing up in Bedford Park had inspired him”.

The commission is called Enwrought Light from a line in Yeats’ Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven:

Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light

The artwork is intended to catch ambient light, day and night, picking up on the theme of light which runs through Yeats’ poems.

The planned sculpture which will go outside St Michael and All Angels.

It can also be seen as a swirl of autumn leaves or a flight of birds.

Artist Conrad Shawcross (son of William Shawcross and Marina Warner) is the youngest member of the Royal Academy of Arts.

His work can be found in the Royal Academy Courtyard (The Dappled Light of the Sun), the Greenwich Peninsula (Optic Clock), the Crick Institute (Paradigm), the Ministry of Justice (Axiom) and the Moorgate entrance of Liverpool Street Station at the Ministry of Justice (Manifold 5:4).

The vicar of St Michael and All Angels Fr. Kevin Morris is leading a committee that includes the director of the Chiswick Book Festival, former BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas; Matthew Fay, whose great-grandfather helped found The Abbey Theatre with Yeats based on Yeats’s initial Bedford Park drama experiments; and local author Polly Devlin (a sister-in-law of the late Seamus Heaney).

Among those supporting the campaign are broadcaster Jeremy Vine, who lives locally, and the Irish government.

The project has been designated a COVID-recovery project by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s #MakeLondon team.

COVID recovery projects are designed to enhance the environments in which people live, particularly as we are much more locally based because of the pandemic.

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