• Emily Prescott

The Londoner: Temporary statues are hot right now, says Prue Leith


Prue Leith, the originator of the changeable fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, tells us we could use more temporary statues in public life.


“The great thing about rolling exhibitions is that it eliminates the inevitable objections,” the Bake Off presenter said. “Any permanent statue will be loved by some and hated by others. But if you know the thing is temporary there’s no need to object.”


When Leith was chair of the Royal Society of Arts in 1994 she wrote to this newspaper about the Trafalgar Square plinth, and later the first artwork, Ecce Homo by Mark Wallinger, appeared. Britain’s relationship with its statues has been thrust into the limelight with the Black Lives Matter protests. Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for Mayor, is launching a People’s Plinths programme celebrating “ethnic minorities and women”, while Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that all monuments in the city are under review.


As for a statue on the fourth plinth inspired by recent events, the Mayor’s Office told the Londoner “we haven’t received any requests,” adding “the current works have been selected through to 2022”. But could their model be rolled out nationwide?

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