A tempest

Pictured: the exterior of Broadcasting House, London, in the 1930s

“Gill’s other main preoccupation in the early 1930s was Prospero and Ariel, best known of all his carvings, over the entrance of Broadcasting House in Langham Place…It was a complex commission, involving not just the provision of the central Prospero and Ariel/Father and Son figures, but also three relief panels showing Ariel being carried up by angels, Ariel accompanied by Gaiety and Wisdom, and Ariel piping to a group of children (an obvious reference to Children’s Hour). For the foyer, Gill provided another large male figure: The Sower (or The Broadcaster), a back-to-the-land figure distributing corn…

….The BBC carvings are tortuous in metaphor, the work of the man who will not listen to the radio. (“Who are Prospero and Ariel,” asks Gill in desperation, “and why are they appropriate to the BBC?” Was it some sort of pun on Ariel and aerial?)…”

Fiona MacCarthy: Eric Gill (1989) Chapter Eleven: Pigotts 1928-40

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