How Suffolk’s iconic beach sculpture is enticing Hong Kong students to study in the UK

A poster in Hong Kong which features Maggi Hambling's Scallop sculpture. Picture: JAMES TROWER

A poster in Hong Kong which features Maggi Hambling's Scallop sculpture. Picture: JAMES TROWER - Credit: Archant

An iconic image of the Suffolk coast features among a peculiar collection of images designed to entice Hong Kong Chinese students to study in the UK.

Maggi Hambling's Scallop has been on Aldeburgh beach since 2003. Picture: ALISON BALAAM

Maggi Hambling's Scallop has been on Aldeburgh beach since 2003. Picture: ALISON BALAAM - Credit: citizenside.com

Maggi Hambling’s famous Scallop sculpture has been chosen for a poster publicising the British Council’s Study UK Exhibition, which runs this weekend in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

A series of themed posters has been created to promote the various Study UK Exhibitions held at cities across the world, many featuring such iconic landmarks as Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the London Eye, as well cricket players, musicians and the Red Arrows.

The poster featuring Aldeburgh beach’s Scallop sculpture, however, includes a rather unusual assortment of beach-huts, sunglasses, ice-lollies and table tennis bats.

James Trower, 31, who grew up in Suffolk but has been living in Hong King since 2013, spotted the poster while travelling on the city’s Mass Transit Railway, and was said to have been taken aback by what he saw.

Artist Maggi Hambling in her studio. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Artist Maggi Hambling in her studio. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant


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His father, David Trower, 72, who lives in Aldeburgh, said his son, a former head boy of the Woodbridge School, was surprised by the collection of images chosen to promote the exhibition.

He said: “As the poster is advertising UK schools to encourage wealthy Honk Kong Chinese students to come to the country, he was a bit nonplussed to see there was no Big Ben or Shard, which are more redolent of the UK, but instead there was the Scallop.”

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“My first thought was that it was a fillip for Aldeburgh and may be of local interest.”

The sculpture, which has been on Aldeburgh beach since 2003, was set up to commemorate the famous Suffolk composer Benjamin Britten and displays a quite from his opera Peter Grimes: “I hear those voices that will not be drowned out”.

The Hong Kong Exhibition Centre is hosting the UK Study Exhbition. Picture: GOOGLE IMAGES

The Hong Kong Exhibition Centre is hosting the UK Study Exhbition. Picture: GOOGLE IMAGES - Credit: Archant

Hambling, who was brought up in Suffolk and studied at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing, has achieved international acclaim for her work - but continues to spend much of her time in the county.

The UK Study conference features nearly 100 independent schools, further education colleges and universities and is aimed at young people who want to come to the UK to study and features workshops and British culture and lifestyles as well as application processes.

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