Saturday, July 20, 2013

William Shakespeare: The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture - London, England

Interesting Places I've Photographed
The Seven Ages of Man Sculpture
London, England
Topic: William Shakespeare

N 51° 30.712 W 000° 06.065

Quick Description: 

The Seven Ages of Man sculpture is located at the front courtyard of the Baynard House on Queen Victoria Street in the Blackfriars area of London.

Long Description:

An unusual tribute to William Shakespeare is easily reached from street level outside the British Telecom owned office building called the Baynard House. This odd cast aluminium public sculpture by Richard Kindersley is entitled The Seven Ages of Man. A 22' high column of seven sculpted heads is stacked, in totem pole fashion, on top of each other. The youngest at the bottoms and getting older as you progress up the column. The sculpture was commissioned by Post Office Telecommunications and unveiled in April 1980.

On the round pole at the base of the sculpture is inscribed the appropriate lines from Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It (2.7)

At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow.

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the canon's mouth.

And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part.

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

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