Seven-year campaign culminates in a celebration of the Irish poet's work
The statue due to be formally unveiled
Bedford Park’s newest landmark is to be officially unveiled this Tuesday (6 September) in an event that marks the culmination of a seven-year campaign to erect a statue to WB Yeats.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will preside over the free-to-attend ceremony for ‘Enwrought Light’ by Conrad Shawcross RA at 4.30pm at the site in front of St. Michael and All Angels Church.
The event will feature a recital of some of the poems of WB Yeats by local school children, as well as traditional Irish music and will be hosted by Cahal Dallat the poet who was one of the originators of the plan to build the statue.
At 6.30pm, the Josephine Hart Poetry Hour marks the unveiling in the church with actors Sinéad Cusack and Ciarán Hinds reading Yeats poems, with a musical prelude from tenor David Walsh, Tara Viscardi on harp, and Robert Finegan (Soprano saxophone). Sinéad Cusack’s husband Jeremy Irons is expected to attend. This is a ticketed event which is now sold out.
The statue is a contemporary piece of artwork inspired by Yeats’s poem 'He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven' and comprises a vertical gold and silver fragmented structure designed to reflect light. A symbolic rather than figurative work was chosen after consulting locally in an attempt to show how he was inspired by Bedford Park’s ‘progressive spirit’.
Yeats spent part of his teens and his twenties in Bedford Park, a vital period in his development as a poet and dramatist. He was inspired by the Arts and Craft ambience in the area.
His family moved frequently between London, Dublin and Sligo, moving into Bedford Park’s Woodstock Road in 1879 while 'Willie' attended Godolphin (then a boys’ school) until age 16, then back to Dublin, returning to London when he was 20, and to 3 Blenheim Road in Bedford Park in 1888, where they remained until 1902. W B Yeats wrote one of his most famous poems, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, while living in Bedford Park.
The campaign for the statue was officially launched in 2015 at the Irish Embassy in London. It was spearheaded by local poet, musician, and BBC broadcaster Cahal Dallat. The project set up was enabled by financial support which came from almost entirely local sources.
You can read more about the Yeats link with Chiswick in this article by Cahal Dallat written for Chiswickw4.com
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September 4, 2022