In a special event on Tuesday 26 June, New West End Company unveiled the newly restored and relocated Horse and Rider sculpture on the corner of New Bond Street and Burlington Gardens, as part of the £10m public works to upgrade the area. Created by the acclaimed Sculptor and Royal Academician Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930 – 1993), the sculpture has been moved to a new home to mark the new entrance to the Royal Academy of Arts and act as a new landmark for Bond Street.
Previously located on Dover Street, the bronze work, described by Frink as “an ageless symbol of man and horse”, has been donated by Crosstree Real Estate Partners to the City of Westminster, who will maintain the sculpture for future generations to enjoy. As part of the refresh to the roads and paving along New and Old Bond Street, New West End Company, in partnership with Westminster City Council, Transport for London and The Mayor’s Office has created a new Town Square between New Bond Street and Burlington Gardens that will provide a permanent location for the sculpture for visitors and passers-by to admire.
This major project, designed by Publica and implemented by WSP and FM Conway, is being carried out to prepare the street for the additional 60 million visits expected each year following the opening of the Elizabeth line at Bond Street station at the end of 2018. Works will be completed in autumn 2018, creating an elegant environment to reflect the calibre of the brands and galleries along the street.
The Royal Academy of Arts, the world’s foremost artist and architect-led institution, celebrates its 250th anniversary year throughout 2018. Following a transformational redevelopment, designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield RA and supported by the National Lottery, the new Royal Academy allows visitors for the first time to wander freely from Piccadilly to Mayfair through a new central route between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, opening up new spaces for making, exhibiting and debating art and architecture.
Dame Elisabeth Frink’s Grade II listed sculpture, depicting a man riding on a horse, will be a signpost for the new entrance to the RA at Burlington Gardens. In her lifetime Frink was a woman renowned for her courage, integrity and style and she was a truly popular sculptor whose work is admired internationally. Animal figures, particularly horses, dominated her work and Horse and Rider was recast for another location in Winchester in 1983 due to its fame.
Jace Tyrrell, Chief Executive of New West End Company said:
“Bond Street and Mayfair are revered throughout the world for their iconic architecture and dynamic art scene. To prepare the district for the opening of the Elizabeth line at Hanover Square, which will bring an additional 60 million visits each year by 2021 into central London, New West End Company has driven a £10m public realm transformation of Bond Street. Thanks to our combined partnership with Westminster City Council, Transport for London and The Mayor’s Office, these works will be completed this autumn to a world-class standard, securing the street’s international success and cementing its reputation as a globally competitive luxury retail and art environment. The Horse and Rider sculpture forms an important part of this development, becoming a new artistic landmark for the district.”
Christopher Le Brun, President of the Royal Academy of Arts, said:
“Dame Elisabeth Frink RA was one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Elected as a Royal Academician in 1977, her prestige was such that she was considered an ideal candidate to become the first female President of the Royal Academy. We are delighted that Horse and Rider has been given to Westminster and will be displayed in pride of place in the new Bond Street Town Square, enabling this masterpiece to be enjoyed and admired by the local community as well as all the new visitors to the area.”
Cllr Tim Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Environment and City Management for Westminster City Council said:
“We want our public spaces to showcase the very best of our country’s art and culture so we are delighted that Dame Frink’s Horse and Rider statue in its new location will continue to be enjoyed by Westminster’s residents and visitors.”