Sculptor blasts bid to move artwork

By Sarah ChambersA SCULPTOR has branded "quite ridiculous" a campaign to move her shell sculpture in honour of the composer Benjamin Britten from Aldeburgh to Snape.

By Sarah Chambers

A SCULPTOR has branded "quite ridiculous" a campaign to move her shell sculpture in honour of the composer Benjamin Britten from Aldeburgh to Snape.

A petition has been launched in Aldeburgh, calling for Maggi Hambling's sculpture, in the shape of huge scallop shells, to be transferred away from Aldeburgh beach.

Petition organiser, Peter Schrank, said the sculpture should be moved to "a more suitable site" and the beach should be restored to "its former bleak unspoilt beauty".


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But fans of the sculpture, which was unveiled in the autumn, have rallied to its defence following the petition and many have written to Ms Hambling, expressing their support.

The Rendham-based artist and sculptor said: "I have had lots of letters from people saying how much they love it and it most certainly must stay where it is. I personally have not had any letters saying take it away."

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Ms Hambling said the sculpture had been specifically designed to go by the stretch of sea where it now stood.

"It has divided people, there's no doubt about it. I think perhaps there are people who think that art belongs at Snape and not at Aldeburgh," she added.

"The sculpture now belongs to Suffolk Coastal District Council and that's where it is and I don't think they have any intention of moving it because they like it very much. This idea of taking it off to Snape is quite ridiculous."

Simon Loftus, who was involved in co-ordinating the project, said it was "a serious work of art" and added such things were always going to attract controversy.

The project had been discussed and approved by the town and district council and by the regulatory bodies, he pointed out.

Mr Loftus felt many residents supported it and when he had visited the site, the clear impression he had got was that people had been "very keen" on it and had been "very proud" of it.

"It has been adopted by people in a very straightforward way. My view is that people will come to love it," he said.

Mr Loftus felt the petition was "a divisive thing" and "a mistake", adding: "I think it's extremely unlikely that such a petition could have much effect, to be quite honest.

"I think they are unnecessarily dividing Aldeburgh on something many people don't feel that passionately about."

sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk

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