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Recycled ‘Queen’s Beasts’ sculptures tour the UK
Reinterpretations of the stone sculptures the ‘Queen’s Beasts’, made from recycled materials by artist Tom Hiscocks, have gone on tour around the UK.
The ten sculptures, which include the lion of England, the unicorn of Scotland and the white horse of Hanover, represent the genealogy of Queen Elizabeth II and were originally commissioned to decorate the entrance to Westminster Abbey for her coronation in June 1953.
Although the original stone sculptures were donated to Canada in 1959, Hiscocks’ reworking of the concept was inspired by their replicas, which are situated in Kew Gardens. The artist explains: “When I visited the beasts in Kew Gardens, I had a strong sense that their spirits were compromised by the way they were represented. They said: ‘We’re stuck in poses that were for a particularly formal occasion 60 years ago. We have evolved. Can you help?’”.
Hiscocks spent around 2,000 hours and used a variety of recycled materials - including a fire extinguisher, car headlamps and bumpers, and 3,000 drinks cans - to produce the heraldic figures.
Speaking on his website, Tom Hiscocks added that recycling the material in this way “provides flash, bling and movement with minimum depletion of resource… I like the idea that these things can play their part within a new form of identity and expression.”
Of the 9.5 billion drinks cans bought in the UK last year, around 60 per cent were recycled. Hiscocks is also a supporter of the ‘Every Can Counts’ campaign, which aims to encourage more people to recycle their aluminium cans.
The project was sponsored by the can manufacturer, Ball Packaging. Norman Lett, UK Recycling Manager for Ball Packaging Europe, said: “Ball works hard to communicate the merits of recycling to consumers of drinks cans to help mitigate environmental footprint. Working with Tom’s ‘Beasts’ helps to communicate those messages and reflect the value and benefits of metal recycling in an interesting and engaging way.”
For further information on the sculptures, including tour dates and a competition, visit the Queen's Beasts Tumblr.
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