Eric Gill Prospero and Ariel 1931

Artwork details

Artist
Eric Gill 1882–1940
Title
Prospero and Ariel
Date 1931
Medium Caen stone
Dimensions Object: 1320 x 450 x 420 mm, 160 kg
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1935
Reference
N04808
Not on display

Display caption

In 1929 the BBC commissioned Gill to decorate their new headquarters at Broadcasting House, just north of Oxford Circus in London. This is a model for the group above the main entrance. In Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, the sorceror, Prospero, reigns over a magical island, served by an airy sprite named Ariel. Ariel provided a useful symbol for radio’s communication across the airwaves. Gill said that ‘the figures... are as much God the Father and God the Son as they are Shakespeare’s characters’. The linear style of Prospero’s hair and drapery is very close to that of Medieval carving.

August 2004

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