22nd Oct, 2017

EXCLUSIVE - Shakespeare statue Stratford plan

Stratford Editorial 29th Jan, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THE FIRST major new statue of Shakespeare on the streets of Stratford for over a century is set to be unveiled in the heart of his home town.

A proposal has been put forward for the bronze sculpture of the Bard to be placed on the roundabout at the top of Bridge Street with Prince Charles invited to unveil it.

The statue, which stands some 14 feet tall with plinth, has been commissioned by town businessman Tony Bird, chairman of the Bird Group, and has been made by world-renown sculptor James Butler at his studio in Radway.

Stratford Town Council welcomed the proposed statue this week, but was clear it would be important townspeople were consulted, and the final say on planning would have to be made by Stratford District Council, and Warwickshire County Council, as the highway authority, would also have to agree if it were to be placed on the roundabout.

Mr Bird told The Observer Stratford needed to recognise its most famous son more.

He said: “It would be the first statue of Shakespeare to be erected in Stratford since the Gower Memorial was first located in Theatre Garden well over 100 years ago in the late 1800s.

“A large bronze statue of Shakespeare was installed in the Shakespeare Centre by Levis Fox 50 years ago. However, this is indoors and not seen by the general public as are the beautiful Gower Memorial statues.”

Mr Bird plans to contact the Prince of Wales, who is also President of the RSC, to see if a date could be arranged for HRH to officially unveil the statue.

Mr Butler spent two years working on the statue of the standing Bard dressed in clothes similar to the Cobbe portrait only fairly recently authenticated by Shakespeare expert Professor Stanley Wells.

Mr Butler was also responsible for the sculpture of The Jester on Henley Street, which was also commissioned by Mr Bird.

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