Artist reveals inspiration behind Scallop

RENOWNED Suffolk artist Maggi Hambling has given an insight into the inspiration behind one of her most controversial creations.

The Scallop sculpture has been the cause of much debate since it was unveiled on Aldeburgh beach seven years ago.

While some see it as a masterpiece of modern art others loathe its very existence and have even gone as far as spraying it with offensive graffiti.

Maggi has now written a book about the sculpture, which was created as a tribute to composer Benjamin Britten, who had a home in Aldeburgh.

It was officially launched on Saturday night at the town’s Jubilee Hall, where the artist answered questions from Radio 4’s Martha Kearney.

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Maggi said: “It seemed to be a pretty full house. I had a good swig of Southern Comfort before I went on and pulled it off.

“I was treated very kindly by Martha. To my knowledge there weren’t any protesters.

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“I think most of the house was definitely for the sculpture. We talked about how the idea came about and what parts of my childhood were in it.”

The book - entitled The Aldeburgh Scallop - is out now published by Full Circle Editions and has an introduction by Stephen Fry.

It details the colourful history of the stainless steel 15ft structure, its construction and the row that erupted after it was unveiled in November 2003.

It also includes the stories of those who helped out, including engineers Dennis and Sam Pegg, who forged the structure, and Simon Loftus, who got together the money for the project.

It traces the artist’s love of the sea back to earliest childhood and records how this lifelong passion has fired her work.

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