Artist’s ‘sadness’ over changes to iconic town centre sculpture

Swans in Swan Walk where water has been replaced with glass SUS-161130-145701001
Swans in Swan Walk where water has been replaced with glass SUS-161130-145701001

An internationally renowned sculptor has spoken of her ‘sadness’ over changes to one of her artworks on public display in Horsham.

Artist Lorne Mckean created the bronze of ‘landing’ swans - in Swan Walk shopping centre - which has now had water at its base replaced with glass.

Lorne has achieved world-wide fame and has countless works on exhibition in public places and has also undertaken royal commissions. She was among official artists involved in the London 2012 Olympics.

She also created two other artworks on display in Horsham: the sculpture of Mr Pirie’s donkey and cart in Piries Place, and the Horsham Heritage Sundial in The Forum.

She said the swan sculpture “was always designed to have shallow water at the bottom with two little fountain bits which bubbled up in two places.

“It’s very sad they have decided to change it.”

She said she had not been consulted about the change and was “disappointed that it is not as it was designed to be.”

Meanwhile, members of the watchdog group, The Horsham Society, have been calling for the return of the sculpture’s water.

Controversy over the bronze in Swan Walk erupted last week when the new base of illuminated glass was first unveiled.

The permanent removal of the water was met with cries of ‘shame’ but shopping centre manager Gill Buchanan said the water was removed following pump failures and risks around ‘customer safety.’

She said that the installation of illuminated glass had received ‘unanimous support.’

But Nigel Friswell, chairman of The Horsham Society, this week called for the water to be returned.

“It’s a lovely feature and we have been pressing for the water to go back in,” he said.

An outcry over the sculpture originally erupted back in 2007 when the entire artwork was suddently removed.

The sculpture was returned to the shopping centre the following year after public protests.

Nigel Friswell added: “I suppose the swans with no water are slightly better than no swans at all. But we would much rather the management at Swan Walk actually found a proper solution with water as the artist intended.

“If we are going to encourage visitors to the town, then really we ought to find some way of getting the water back to the swans.”