Big brother's father in bronze

Big brother's father in bronze

George Orwell statue by Martin Jennings Photo: Ben Sutherland

The area outside the headquarters of the BBC, the main British broadcaster, is home to a bronze statue of the author. Opened in 2017, it was created by Martin Jennings, who the following year received the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture from the Society of Public Monuments and Sculpture. This was the first time that the award was awarded to the same sculptor for two consecutive years.

Despite this recognition, the statue was not free from criticism. The wall behind the statue prints an unused phrase in the introduction to another Orwell classic, Animal Farm: “If freedom means anything, it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear.” Some critics had something to say about Martin Jennings.

British architectural critic Gavin Stamp said that the statue could compete and deserve to win the ugliest new building of the year in the satirical Sir Hugh Casson Award presented by Private Eye magazine.

Stump, in his review, said Orwell deserved better, not this picture of him “holding a cigarette, wearing a rumpled suit and posing like a music-hall performer about to tell a joke. There is no hint here of Orwell's ambivalent relationship with Orwell.” BBC.” Some critics also criticized the use of the statue on a pedestal.

Writer George Orwell smokes as the sculptor points out
Writer George Orwell smokes as the sculptor points out Image: ullstein bild via Getty Images

The author defended himself from the attacks by saying that smoking was part of the writer's identity, and that it was inconceivable that he would not be represented by a cigarette. Regarding the statue's base, Jennings said aesthetic decisions had to be made. “It's up against a large slope of a stone wall and it has to fit into that space. It can't be at ground level,” the author says.

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About the Author: Gillian Hall

"Award-winning zombie guru. Entrepreneur. Incurable tv aficionado. Web scholar. Coffee advocate. Total internet lover. Bacon expert."

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