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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