Reg Butler Working Model for ‘The Unknown Political Prisoner’ 1955–6

Artwork details

Artist
Reg Butler 1913–1981
Title
Working Model for ‘The Unknown Political Prisoner’
Date 1955–6
Medium Steel and bronze on plaster base
Dimensions Object: 2238 x 879 x 854 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Cortina and Creon Butler 1979
Reference
T02332

Display caption

Butler's maquette was the winning entry in the international competition for a monument to 'The Unknown Political Prisoner'. After his original maquette was severely damaged, Butler made two replicas. This work was made between 1955 and 1956 and represents Butler's vision of a monument to 'The Unknown Political Prisoner' in its most fully developed form. Four times larger than the maquettes, it was welded from pieces of steel forged by the artist. It includes details such as the ladder-like structure which climbs one of the legs of the tower. Several leading Germans, including the mayor of Berlin were keen to see the monument built in West Berlin, although this ambition was never realised.

August 2004