Reg Butler Final Maquette for ‘The Unknown Political Prisoner’ 1951–2

Artwork details

Artist
Reg Butler 1913–1981
Title
Final Maquette for ‘The Unknown Political Prisoner’
Date 1951–2
Medium Painted stone and painted bronze
Dimensions Object: 445 x 205 x 165 mm
Collection
Lent by the Estate of Reg Butler 1986
On long term loan
Reference
L01102
Not on display

Display caption

Butler won an international competition to design a monument to The Unknown Political Prisoner. The competition was intended to pay tribute to those who had been imprisoned or lost their lives in the cause of human freedom. Butler interpreted the theme specifically as being for 'a monument to those who had died in the concentration camps'. Had it ever been built it would have risen 300-400 feet high. It combines a rock foundation, three women 'in whose minds the unknown prisoner is remembered', and a tower to suggest 'the tyranny of persecution'. The original model was destroyed by a Hungarian refugee while on display at the Tate in 1953.

March 2001

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