Placing the Artwork
The project’s goal is the creation/installation of a contemporary artwork at the ‘gateway’ to Bedford Park expressing/celebrating the synergies between WB Yeats’s developing genius & Bedford Park’s progressive/experimental community, with its social & cultural networks & its role as a 19c artistic & literary hub.
Following discussions/consultations locally the artwork will ideally be situated so as to be:
- visible from the roadways & the pavements gray the young poet walked to school & later to literary friends’ houses including those of actor Florence Farr, poet John Todhunter, editor WE Henley & author, political activist & Arts&Crafts exponent Wm Morris
- by St. Michael & All Angels Church where the family worshipped (Yeats’s grandfather & great-grandfather were both Anglican clergymen) & a cultural & community focal point
- en route from Turnham Green District Line Station which the Yeatses used to travel in & out of central London for poetry, art, theatre, discussions & debates
- within a short distance of No.8 Woodstock Road where the family lived from 1879
- en route to No.3 Blenheim Rd where they lived from 1888, where Yeats wrote The Lake Isle of Innisfree & where the Irish Literary Society was founded (still a major literary organisation in London’s cultural life)
- within sight of the former Bedford Park Club building on The Avenue, where Yeats’s father debated the issues of the day with Bedford Park neighbours, where WB attended lectures, & where local amateur dramatics inspired Yeats’s own symbolist drama, leading to the world-renowned Abbey Theatre & the Celtic Revival (The building has found a new life since 1994 as the London Buddhist Vihara)
- close to Bedford Park’s Arts&Crafts pub, The Tabard, named for the inn in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales & to the site of the former Bedford Park Community Stores & Bedford Park School of Art & Craft attended by WB’s brother Jack & sisters Elizabeth & Susan; the Art School’s location now houses performing arts school, ArtsEd
- & facing Acton Green, the local ‘village green’ where the Yeatses enjoyed fairs & circuses & from which John Butler Yeats’s fellow painters painted views of this unusual garden suburb.
The Artwork Project committee members, all local residents, have visited a number of public sculptures/works-of-art in situ & in sculpture parks (in Britain, Ireland & the US), consulting with local opinion, cultural & community organisations, advisors, architects, planning consultants & art critics, & have asked selected artists to respond to the project’s aims in terms of Yeats’s life & writings, & to Bedford Park’s unique place in the history of art & ideas.
The relationship between design & exact location is central both to the project & to artistic creativity/vision, so discussions now involve architects, property owner(s), planning & heritage consultants, & planning departments, as well as creative artists.
Watch this space for news of progress…