Much the best informed of a number of discussions as to how best to commemorate the Queen has appeared as an editorial in this month’s Burlington Magazine. It has been thought that the fourth plinth has been reserved for an equestrian statue, but I’m not clear who, if anyone, makes such decisions, nor that the planning of commemorative statues is subject to any long-term planning; rather the opposite – they seem often to be the result of ad hoc private initiative, currently on the part of backbench MPs.
The issue will be not just where, but who is competent to make such a statue. It’s not easy. The equestrian statue in Windsor Great Park by Philip Jackson turned out to be pretty successful, but I’m not convinced that an equestrian statue, good as a form of commemoration in wide open parkland, is necessarily appropriate to express the Queen’s humanity.
Maybe there should be an architectural competition, in which architects seek an appropriate sculptor. As it happens, the current statue on the fourth plinth is unexpectedly powerful, I presume created through photogrammetry, reconstructing a historical figure from a photograph. Most sculptors are dismissive of this on the grounds that it is purely reproductive, but it could help solve some of the potential problems in the absence of a living tradition of monumental sculpture.